Budget carriers may be forced to exit Shanghai

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, April 16, 2015
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Budget carriers and some cargo flights might soon be unable to operate from Shanghai as the city's principal airports in Pudong and Hongqiao come under increasing pressure from soaring traffic volumes, a senior industry official said Wednesday.

Jiang Huaiyu, a director of the East China Civil Aviation Administration of China, said that low-cost, cargo airlines and private jets might soon be required to base themselves in either Nantong in Jiangsu Province, or Jiaxing or Ningbo in neighboring Zhejiang Province.

Over the past 30 years, the combined annual passenger traffic at Pudong and Hongqiao has risen by almost 160 percent to 80 million, while cargo turnover has tripled in the period to more than 3 million tons a year.

Passenger numbers are expected to surge to about 120 million by 2020 and the two airports will be hard pressed to cope, said Wang Jijie, deputy president of the Shanghai airport authority.

Meanwhile, the number of flights by business and private jets into and out of the two airports has also been steadily rising, Wang said.

Last year, Pudong and Hongqiao handled 4,792 takeoffs and landings by business jets, an increase of 7 percent from 2013, he said.

The total number of such flights in the first quarter of 2015 rose 6 percent year on year and will only increase, said Lu Xun, deputy general manager of the Shanghai Hawker Pacific Aviation Service Center.

Though Jiang did not offer any concrete plans or give a time frame, the possibility of such changes would be significant for local budget carrier Spring Airlines, which is currently based at Hongqiao Airport.

The company told Shanghai Daily that it has not received any information on the matter.

However, Zhang Yue, director of the planning office of the China Civil Aviation Development Research Institute, also said that the low-cost airline might in the near future be forced to move out of Shanghai.

Budget carriers account for about 10 percent of all flights in China and the figure is rising, he said.

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