Five Chinese airlines on Monday jointly launched an express air service
between Beijing and Shanghai, the first in the country, but the service will
mean an end to hefty discounts on week-day flights.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), which initiated the
service, is promising a maximum three-hour turnaround from final check-in to
A total of 36 express flights were put into operation by Air China, China
Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, and Shanghai Airlines, taking off
almost every half hour between the Beijing Capital International Airport and
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.
The service included express check-in, security check, boarding gate and
baggage claim services dedicated to the service at the two airports,said a CAAC
Passengers would be allowed for the first time to transfer to the aircraft of
any of the other four airlines at their destination, the spokesman said.
"It's much faster and more convenient now," said Wang Ruiming, a passenger at
the Shanghai airport.
Previously, passengers could get discounts of up to 30 percent on their
fares. But from Monday to Friday, all tickets will be sold at the full price of
1,130 yuan (149 U.S. dollars), and to prevent cut-throat competition, some
airlines have proposed a maximum discount of 20 percent.
According to the CAAC plan, the period till October 27 will be the trial
operation phase; the winter and spring will be the improvement stage; and the
summer and autumn of next year will be the promotion and expansion phase.
Xia Xinghua, director of the CAAC's east China bureau, said if successful, it
would expand to more major cities, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu.
At least 70 flights operate between Beijing and Shanghai every day, including
the express service, but they struggle to meet the rising demand.
CAAC data shows that the Beijing-Shanghai route is the busiest domestic
commercial route, taken by 4.18 million passengers last year, accounting for
2.98 percent of China's total civil aviation passenger