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CAAC to pay back funds to airlines

CHINA'S aviation regulator will refund domestic carriers 4.29 billion yuan (US$629 million), which was collected for a government fund, in a bid to minimize the fallout from the economic downturn.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China collected the money, which covered the second half of last year and the first six months of this year, in advance.

The CAAC also plans to reduce the ground waiting time by three minutes for each flight to save a total of 4.5 billion yuan this year, Yang Guoqing, its deputy director, said in Beijing yesterday.

The move is part of the regulator's efforts to revive the loss-making domestic carriers, which were hurt by the weaker demand due to the financial crisis and natural disasters last year as well as sharply-fluctuating jet fuel prices.

The three biggest Chinese carriers flew into a combined loss of 28 billion yuan last year, but were profitable in the first quarter of this year.

The regulator will also pay part of the landing fees for airlines in some small and medium-size airports this year, according to Yang.


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