China's aviation authorities are suspending applications for new airlines until 2010 and imposing stricter monitoring on the new air companies in order to prevent overheating of the nation's airline industry.
A statement on the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) website said the move would check the the overheated development of air transport, and ensure safety standards would be maintained.
The rapid development was threatening safety because of a shortage of pilots and the limited capacity of both airspace and domestic airports, said the administration.
However, CAAC will still welcome applications for establishing cargo airlines that employ mostly foreign pilots and operate at night, as well as airlines that use China-made aircraft and operate in western and northeastern China, according to the announcement.
The CAAC has decided to cut 336 domestic flights to/from the Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) from August 15, bringing the peak hourly flights from more than 60 at present to 58 per hour in the period.
China's air transportation industry has seen an average annual growth of more than 16 percent in recent years. Since the beginning of 2007, the total air traffic mileage has surged 20 percent over the same period last year.