China’s aviation regulator is easing restrictions that require each route be operated by only one Chinese carrier, opening the way for increased travel options on long-haul routes.
The original policy was established in 2009 as a means to limit excessive competition among state-owned airlines, especially on routes with lower demand. However, a changing industry as well as the upcoming opening of a second international airport in Beijing in 2019 have driven the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to change its ruling, the regulator said in a statement.
The new regulations are set to come into effect on October 1, 2018 and in particular will see routes to Australia, Thailand and the US, which have at least a partial open skies agreement with China, become unrestricted.
Long-haul routes to countries without such agreements in place will comprise a second category that will be subject to some restrictions.
“This will be a positive long-term development for Chinese airlines whose international route expansion have been limited by traffic rights access,” Corrine Png, chief executive of transport research consultancy Crucial Perspective told Reuters.