Beijing (XFNews-ASIA) - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it is in talks with China about opening two new air corridors through the country's tightly restricted air space.
IATA-2 and IATA-3 routes would follow IATA-1, which was approved in April and reduces the flight time between China and Europe by an average of 30 minutes, saving airlines an estimated total of 30 mln usd in annual fuel costs.
IATA-2 would link up with IATA-1, further shortening the route from Europe to Guangzhou by around 70 nautical miles, said IATA spokesman Albert Tjoeng.
The new route would generate 6,000 tons of fuel savings and eliminate 19,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, he told XFN-Asia.
IATA-3 is planned to also link with IATA-1, shortening the route to Shanghai by about 200 nautical miles, Tjoeng said, without providing fuel saving and emission cutting estimates.
Talks are also underway regarding the "Olympic Bypass" route, between south Beijing and Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
The route would generate 12,500 tons of fuel savings and eliminate 39,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, Tjoeng said.
He added that discussions are ongoing and gave no timeframe for the possible approval and opening of the new routes.
Rising oil prices remain the aviation industry's key concern, and the shortening of routes is seen as an important step in limiting their impact, as well as going some way to addressing environmental concerns.
IATA has said that China's civil aviation sector will struggle to fulfil its huge growth potential unless the country's airspace is opened further.
China has only around 30 pct of its airspace open to civil aviation, making it one of the most restricted countries in the world.
"Demand will very soon seriously outstrip China's airspace capacity," IATA vice president for safety, operations and infrastructure, Gunther Matschnigg said at a seminar in Beijing earlier this year.