China to see 22 million people travel by air during Spring Festival


BEIJING – An estimated 22 million passengers are expected travel by air during the Spring Festival, 10 percent more than the same period a year ago, according to the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC).

The seven-day Spring Festival holiday, also China’s traditional lunar new year, is the busiest time for transport companies as many Chinese will go back to their hometowns for family reunions.

The administration said that temporary flights might be added to meet increasing passenger demand during the holiday, but the air traffic in major airports in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Kunming would be strictly controlled to ensure smooth and safe flights.

The new third terminal at the Beijing Capital International Airport, which aims to enhance transport capacity greatly, will be put into operation this February, the administration said.

It also said that it would stop taking applications for the founding of new airlines before 2010.

Li Jiaxiang, the CAAC’s acting director, said the administration would strictly examine the applications it had received and approve the establishment of no more than three new airlines each year.

China’s airlines need to brush up their management, attract more talent to this industry and upgrade infrastructure, Li said.

China now has more than 40 domestic airline companies, and less than 10 are state-owned.