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January 30, 2010

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Home » Business » Transport

Airline prepares to battle bullet trains

CHINA Southern Airlines plans to raise its international flights and also increase domestic flight frequencies to compete with high-speed railways, its chairman revealed yesterday.

"International flights account for only 17 percent of our network, and we plan to increase the figure to 30 percent," Si Xianmin, chairman of the Guangzhou-based airline, said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Si has exchanged views with members of the SkyTeam Alliance, including Air France-KLM and Korean Air, on deepening cooperation.

The expansion of its international network can also help the carrier to cushion any impact from the domestic high-speed railways, Si added.

The Chinese government plans to build 42 high-speed rail lines spanning 13,000 kilometers over the next three years, which will make it harder for domestic airlines to lure passengers onto their aircraft.

"We expect air routes shorter than 1,200 kilometers to be affected by high-speed railways," Si said.

The airline will increase flight frequencies on routes to prevent a loss of passengers to the high-speed trains, he said. About 38 routes of the airline's 160 domestic routes face direct battle with the bullet trains.

The carrier raised flight frequencies linking Guangzhou with Wuhan, Hubei Province, ahead of the launch of a high-speed railway linking the two cities.


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