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High-speed railways pose threat to airlines, says carrier

4 November 2009
The construction of high-speed railways in China poses a threat to the nation’s airline industry, warned Si Xianmin, chairman of China Southern Airlines.

“Over 80 per cent of the domestic aviation market will be impacted and about 518 flights are expected to see a 50 per cent plunge in traffic when the planned high-speed rail lines enter service,” he said at a conference in Beijing.

Indeed, competition from high-speed trains is already apparent. Si claimed that China Southern’s weekly traffic on the Shanghai-Wuhan route, for example, has dropped by 30 per cent since high-speed train services started between the two cities.

Expansion of the high-speed train network is a core component of the government’s fiscal stimulus programme. By 2020, China will have built 18,000km of passenger rail lines where trains can travel at speeds of more than 250kph. The network is expected to account for more than half of the world’s total high-speed rail lines.
     
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