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The CAAC is the aviation authority under the Ministry of Transport of the People's Republic of China responsible for civil aviation and the investigation of aviation accidents and incidents. The military controls Chinese airspace, which is restricted and flight clearance and authorisation. Non-commercial air travel is subordinate to military traffic, as such general and private aviation in the country is rare.
China’s aviation industry is growing rapidly, in line with its burgeoning economy.
CAPA also publishes the exclusive analytical Monthly Essential China report.
Airports in China
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Airbus continues to celebrate A330 sales success, pulling in another order (three A330s from Oman Air) this week. The A330 is nearly two decades older than its most direct rival, Boeing’s 787, but the aircraft continues to match the newer aircraft in terms of popularity. When Boeing launched the 787 programme in 2004, the aircraft was seen as a major threat to A330 sales. However, the predicted paucity of A330 orders has failed to materialise, with sales of the older jet meeting those of its newer rival almost on a one-to-one basis over the last decade.
Since the launch of the 787 in 2004, Boeing has sold 890 of the carbon fibre and composite aircraft. The manufacturer claims that the aircraft is 20% more fuel efficient than “similarly sized aircraft” such as the A330 and its own 767. The aircraft is also billed as offering a similar level of savings in terms of maintenance costs and an overall 10% lower cost per seat mile. The 787's iconic value is also being marketed strongly by its operators.
Kunming-based Lucky Air, one of the many airline affiliates of privately-owned HNA Group, has applied to China's aviation regulator CAAC for permission to expand its business licence from domestic services only to include regional flights to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. Expansion to "regional" markets in greater China is usually the first step for Chinese carriers to eventually open international markets.
Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province in southern China, is already linked to Hong Kong and Taiwan but not Macau. Kunming-Hong Kong is served by Hong Kong Airlines, also affiliated with HNA. Hong Kong sees the most international seats from Kunming while Taipei is the sixth-most popular international route.
There are 103 A380s in service as of early May-2013. Emirates has 33 and Singapore Airlines has 19, so when assessing network scheduling, these two and their hubs predominate: of the 1,048 weekly A380 flights, 402 are from Emirates alone. Dubai and Singapore airport see the most A380 flights.
But there are some less predictable statistics. The airport to see the most A380 operators is Hong Kong followed by Paris and Los Angeles. The largest A380 destination that is not (yet) an A380-hub is London Heathrow. The UK and USA are the most common A380 destinations after Australia, Singapore and the UAE. Asia, not the Middle East, sees the most A380 flights; South America sees none. Guangzhou-Shanghai Pudong is the shortest A380 route at 1,202km while Los Angeles-Melbourne is the longest at 12,751km. Qantas and Lufthansa have the highest average sector length while Thai Airways is placing the most number of cycles – about two – on its aircraft per day. Qantas and Air France are placing the least (just over one).
A slowdown in Chinese traffic at the end of 2012 resulting from decreased activity in line with the government’s leadership transition saw Beijing Capital Airport miss a widely-held projection that it would overtake Atlanta Hartsfield airport for the title of world’s largest passenger airport. Beijing remained in the #2 spot after breathtaking growth that saw it enter the world’s 10 largest airports only in 2006.
Growth at Beijing and other major Chinese airports will slow as slots become increasingly difficult to secure. The highest growth amongst major Chinese airports is occurring in China’s west and northeast regions, home to airports including Chongqing, Shenyang and Urumqi.
They are a fraction of the size of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, which account for 31% of passenger movements, but will increasingly garner international attention.
South Korea-Japan airline market sees structural change from LCCs, political tension & weakening yen
The once tidy and highly profitable Japan-Korean market is undergoing fundamental change – accompanied by double-digit yield declines.
It is difficult to identify precisely which ingredients are provoking the greatest change in the South Korea-Japan airline market. First, in mid/late 2012 the market was transformed as new airlines entered and others added capacity; these were mainly LCCs with unprecedented low fares. Then late 2012 saw Japanese outbound tourist numbers fall sharply due to political tensions between South Korea and Japan over largely uninhabited but disputed islands.
In 2013 the Japanese outbound market remains soft as the yen weakens. While the international political situation will eventually cool down, the Korean response has been to target individual tourists rather than tour groups, a change that was long overdue in any event.
But the difference now is that those individuals have LCCs to provide for their needs. These carriers are here to stay, and they will grow – for the usual reasons, but also due to the weakening yen. While the economic and political factors favour the Korean side, it is the Japanese side that has a larger share of the market.
Shortly after Emirates Airline announced its remarkable breakthrough partnership with Qantas in Sep-2012, Emirates CEO Tim Clark said he had also been talking to American Airlines for some time and publicly expressed hopes that the two would also establish a close relationship. This was despite the fact that American already had an extensive codeshare relationship with Etihad; and the third Gulf carrier, Qatar Airways, has since been invited to join the oneworld alliance – which American leads.
The Gulf airlines, and particularly Emirates, have had a devastating impact on European long-haul hub carriers. The impact will be different for US airlines, but despite the different geography, it will be much bigger than most expect. For one thing they will cut across the developed boundaries of the global alliances.