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May 6, 2012

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Combined air-rail service takes off in city

CHINA'S first air-rail combined service yesterday began receiving passengers at Shanghai's Hongqiao International Airport. The service allows passengers to transfer between a domestic or international flight and a train with a single ticket.

The service, jointly launched by the Shanghai Railway Bureau and China Eastern Airlines, allows travelers to take a flight to either of Shanghai's two airports and then transfer by rail free to the cities of Suzhou, Wuxi and Changzhou in Jiangsu Province and Ningbo City in Zhejiang Province.

"The joint ticket price is about half of the total cost of a flight and railway tickets," Zhang Chi, senior manager of China Eastern's marketing department, said yesterday.

The air-rail service has attracted more than 100 passengers, including some from Japan and South Korea, since ticket sales began on April 28, Zhang said.

One passenger was pleased with the price, but not satisfied with the long wait.

"The cheaper price is the biggest attraction, but the problem is I had to wait nearly five hours between the train and the flight," said a passenger surnamed Hu, who took a train from Ningbo to Shanghai and was waiting to transfer to a flight to Hohhot, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Hu arrived at Hongqiao airport at 12:15pm by rail but his flight was not scheduled to depart until 6pm.

The Shanghai Railway Bureau has opened 22 routes every day between Shanghai and the four neighboring cities to link with about 900 daily China Eastern flights.

China Eastern said more railway routes linking Shanghai's neighboring provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui will be added to the joint service soon, which will result in reduced wait time.

Railway operators and airlines have historically competed with one another for business. The deal between China Eastern and the Shanghai Railway Bureau was signed in April.

Passengers can call China Eastern's hotline 400-86-95530 or the airline's sales outlets around the world to buy tickets. "The airline provides free transportation services from the two airports to the railway station and will compensate passengers for either flight or railway delays," said Yan Shuming, manager of China Eastern's maintenance department.


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