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Public hearing held on domestic airfares
( 2003-07-15 09:26) (China Daily)

The public will have its say today in Beijing on planned changes to domestic airfares.

Fifteen people from all walks of life will voice their opinions on the proposed scheme, which gives airlines more freedom to raise and cut ticket prices, during a long-awaited five-hour hearing organized by the National Development and Reform Commission. The commission, authorized by the central government to oversee economic development and pricing reform, has proposed that airlines be allowed to raise ticket prices by a maximum of 25 per cent or cut them by up to 40 per cent. The benchmark price for every passenger is 0.75 yuan (US$0.09) per kilometre.

The commission yesterday organized a preparatory meeting ahead of today's hearing, which has attracted national attention.

Seven out of the 15 representatives are from Beijing, Shanghai, and the provinces of Guangdong, Sichuan, Hubei, Shaanxi and Heilongjiang.

Another two representatives, from the China Consumers' Association and the China Price Association, will also speak on consumers' behalf.

Two aviation industry experts, plus four airline representatives from Shenzhen Airlines, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, and China Southern Airlines, will also attend.

The hearing, originally scheduled for April 24, was postponed because of the SARS outbreak.

Many domestic airlines, having lost patience with delays in introducing the new policy, have already sold tickets at discounts of 30 to 50 per cent.

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