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Oil Price Hike Not to Force up Airfares

Domestic airfares will remain unchanged even with fuel oil price hikes caused by the rising costs of crude oil on the international market in recent days, sources from General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) said Monday.


A CAAC official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the information after some foreign airlines said they will elevate their air fares because of the higher costs of aviation fuel.


Three Canadian airlines announced they would increase their air prices by US$10 for short air routes within North America. Longer air routes within the region and international air lines will see an increased of up to US$15 and US$20, according to China Central Television.


Air Canada will not increase the price of air tickets for international routes for the time being, but plans a price increase in May, a marketing official surnamed Xu with Air Canada's Beijing office said.


Last Thursday, CAAC and the National Development and Reform Commission unveiled a new policy on airfare pricing, giving detailed regulations on the fluctuation of air prices. It is scheduled to take effect on April 20.


In the meantime, CAAC, the industry's watchdog, has mapped out its flight plan for summer and autumn this year, which will be put into operation on March 28 and end on October 30.


A total of 35 new air routes will be opened, including 20 domestic lines and 15 international lines, according to the plan.


More than 1,900 international flights have been arranged for each week for 70-odd destination cities in 31 countries.


A total of 3.25 million seats will be arranged on 21,467 domestic flights each week to meet the demand for increasing air travel in the country.


Domestic airlines also have managed to widen their market in the competition of the international aviation industry.


Starting from March 28, Air China, the nation's fleet carrier, will open three new international air routes from Shenyang in Northeast China to Frankfurt in Germany, Los Angeles in the United States and Sydney in Australia.


(Xinhua News Agency March 23, 2004)


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