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Hainan Air Routes Cut Travel Time
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The military has agreed to open more airspace over South China's Hainan Province, which will help cut international travel time and boost the inbound tourism market.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army has approved a plan to open an air route south of Hainan, the General Administration of Civil Aviation (CAAC) said on its website yesterday.

The new route will cut travel time from Hainan to Southeast Asian countries by more than 2 hours.

Meanwhile, all air routes heading north from Hainan will be opened up to overseas airline companies, the CAAC said.

At present, overseas airlines have to make a detour to Nanning, in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, or Hong Kong before flying north to Japan, South Korea and Russia.

The expanded air space would remove the bottleneck restraining Hainan from attracting overseas airlines to operate new flights, insiders said.

The tropical island province, one of China's hot tourist destinations, has long been making efforts to develop the inbound tourism market.

It implemented preferential policies in 2001, such as visa-free entry for tourist groups from 21 countries. But a shortage of international flights has remained an obstacle.

"By the end of last year, there were 30 international flights by 18 overseas airlines to Hainan," Deputy Governor Liu Qi was quoted by the CAAC Journal as saying.

(China Daily April 4, 2007)

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