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Shanghai-Beijing Flight Boost
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From Monday, flights will be available every half an hour for trips between Shanghai and Beijing.


The move is part of a new government initiative that allows tourists to change tickets for other flights among the five major domestic airlines.


The General Administration of Civil Aviation of China is launching the fast-service project to provide quicker check-ins, security checks and boarding through designated passages.


The five airlines taking part are China Eastern Airlines, Air China, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines and Shanghai Airlines.


Zhong Ning, spokeswoman for the aviation authority, would not give further details about the project yesterday but media reports said passengers flying between Beijing and Shanghai can enjoy the new service as long as the discount on the air tickets doesn't exceed 15 percent.


The aviation authority plans to expand the fast-service network to cover other major cities, such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen.


Wang Wanlong, a spokesman for Shanghai Airlines Co Ltd, said the move will provide a better mix for the flights between Shanghai and Beijing.


"Before passengers were not able to switch flights to other airlines - a situation that contributed to delays of more than an hour during slack hours," said Wang.


He said the company hasn't received detailed flight schedules concerning the new plan.


The government is working to relieve heavy passenger traffic in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.


The aviation bureau announced last month that it will begin trial operations for a third runway at Beijing Capital International Airport in October.


The new runway, if endorsed, will expand takeoff and landing capacity at the airport by 50 percent. The number of flights will increase by 30 flights to 90 an hour.


Beijing airport's passenger traffic rose 16 percent in the first half of this year - a total of 26 million air travelers.


(Shanghai Daily August 3, 2007)


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