China's civil aviation regulator has issued new policies on developing feeder liner transport, in a fresh move to boost the country's fledging aviation industry.
For this purpose, airline companies would have an easier market access if they want to get involved in the business, according to the policies of the General Administration of civil Aviation of China.
The incentive policies also include measures to support the construction of new airports and provide subsidies to some operators of feeder lines and airports.
Feeder line transport in China has great potential as the country has more than 9.6 million square kilometers of land territory and a population of 1.3 billion. But the service is underdeveloped, because of the shortage of feeder liners and crew which resulted in poor profits of operators.
Some airline companies said that operating cost of feeder line transport is much higher than that of trunk line transport, mainly caused by the higher import taxes for feeder liners, engines and parts.
The administration therefore promised to simplify the approval procedures for buying and renting feeder liners, and try to create conditions for the lowering of the import taxes.
Feeder liners fly to and from medium-sized and small airports in various provinces, covering shorter distance and carrying less passengers than trunk liners.
By the end of 2004, Chinese airline companies registered only 74 feeder liners with the administration, accounting for 9.8 percent of the country's whole fleet.
The feeder liners flew on 368 lines but the number of passengers they carried only accounted for 3.7 percent of the country's total.
(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2006)