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China to provide subsidies for small airports, short-hop flights

Beijing (XFN-ASIA) - The civil aviation regulator said it will

soon launch policies to subsidize largely loss-making small and medium-sized

airports as well as short-hop air services.

The General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) said in a statement on its website that subsidies for airports will be provided mainly to those with annual passenger traffic of less than 5 mln people, and those located in remote, underdeveloped regions.

More than 80 pct of the country's airports are eligible for the subsidies, with subsidy levels dependent on each airport's size and location, said the CAAC.

Short-hop air routes with passenger load factors lower than 80 pct will also be subsidized, the CAAC said.

It did not provide a timetable for the new rules.

The civil aviation regulator added that the state council, China's cabinet, has approved its proposal to continue an airport construction levy until 2010. Passengers are currently levied 50 yuan as airport construction fees for each domestic flight, 10 yuan for domestic regional routes and 90 yuan for international routes.