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Airlines Allowed Up to 40% Discounts

From Sunday, the Civil Aviation Administration of China will allow Chinese carriers to offer discounts of up to 40 percent on eight additional domestic routes, in a move towards a more market-oriented pricing policy.

The industry regulator recently said lower fares will be permitted on the following routes: Haikou-Beijing, Haikou-Shanghai, Haikou-Guangzhou, Haikou-Shenzhen, Haikou-Chengdu, Haikou-Chongqing, Haikou-Kunming and Sanya-Guangzhou.

"The decision, aimed at helping carriers attract more travelers, probably reflects the central government's positive view about its earlier trials," said a Shanghai Airlines marketing official, who declined to be identified. "The government is likely to keep this policy as it's an international practice to open domestic airfares to market changes," she said. Two months ago, the CAAC for the first time allowed the Chinese airlines to conditionally offer a maximum 40-percent discount on the seven busiest domestic routes.

Officials of the Shanghai-based carrier, which offers services on three of the seven routes, said the market response has been favorable so far. "Load factors on these routes are quite satisfactory, despite passengers' calm response to the discounts," the official noted.

"It's absolutely good news for those who travel frequently inside the country," said Wendy Zhu, an after-sale service engineer with a local telecom-munications company. "Providing flexible airfares probably offers more choices to travelers especially those with low incomes."

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