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Airlines link up with high-speed rail services

By Wang Wen (China Daily)

13:35, April 24, 2012

After two years of competing with high-speed rail lines, Chinese airlines are trying to find a mutually beneficial solution for both sides.

On Monday, Hainan Airlines Co Ltd launched a joint operating program with Yuehai Railway Co Ltd, which runs the high-speed rail between Haikou and Sanya in Hainan province.

Passengers can buy high-speed rail tickets from Haikou to Sanya when booking tickets on any Hainan Airlines flight to Haikou.

The rail fares will be the same as those offered directly by railways. The airline will eventually sell tickets to other stops on the high-speed rail route.

Hainan Airlines is not the only carrier with such a program.

China Eastern Airlines Co Ltd will start to sell high-speed rail tickets at the end of this month.

Tickets in either direction will be offered between Shanghai and four other cities - Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou and Ningbo.

Ticket sales for high-speed rail lines will expand gradually within the main cities of Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and Shanghai, which are under the jurisdiction of the Shanghai Railway Bureau, said Shen Xiaosheng, deputy director of the carrier's publicity department.

He said fares will fluctuate, but joint tickets will cost less than the total air and rail fares if sold separately.

China's high-speed rail service has been operating for two years and has had a broad, adverse effect on airlines' domestic business.

Areas that are getting high-speed rail service are also the most profitable for airlines. All three major State-owned airlines cited high-speed rail service as a factor affecting revenue in their financial reports.

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