27-Jun-2011 12:07 PM

Chinese carriers deny discounting on Beijing-Shanghai due to high-speed rail

China Eastern Airlines and several other Chinese carriers have denied reports that their recent fare discounts on the Beijing-Shanghai sector are in response to the opening of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail link, which is scheduled to commence commercial operations on 30-Jun-2011 (Carnoc.com/China News/Beijing Times, 24/25-Jun-2011). Chinese carriers have also reportedly introduced other measures including offering free shuttle buses to/from airports to prevent passengers from choosing the high-speed rail. According to Qunar, a major Chinese travel search engine, fares on the lucrative Beijing-Shanghai sector are down by an average of 40% to 50% with the lowest fare at a 65% discount at CNY400, which is lower than the cheapest ticket for the high-speed rail of CNY410. According to VariFlight, the average load factor on the Beijing-Shanghai Hongqiao sector exceeded 80%.