China Southern Airlines, the nation’s largest carrier, will add more shuttle services as an expanding high-speed rail network threatens to lure passengers off planes.
(The choice is simple. You catch the train in the center of the city. There is no hassle, as yet, with security. You can catch it with ten minutes to spare. You have room to walk around. On arrival you are in the center of the destination. Taking all the time needed to sort out a flight, the danger point is when a super-fast train is competing with an airline on any trip under 400 kilometers.)
Now China Southern Airlines will start shuttle flights from its hub in Guangzhou to Wuhan in Hubei province and to Zhengzhou in Henan. The flights will operate at least once an hour and passengers will only need to check in 30 minutes before takeoff. A service to Changsha in Hunan province is already in operation.
China Southern plans to add the shuttles as it expects traffic to fall on about 25% of domestic routes because of high-speed railways, offering cheaper fares and greater convenience. China is scheduled to build more than 18,000 kilometers (11,185 miles) of high-speed rail lines by 2020 according to the plans of the Ministry of Railways.
Bloomberg reported that Li Lei, an analyst at China Securities in Beijing, said, “China Southern will be hit the most by the expanding high-speed rail network. It has to get prepared.” China will own more than half of the world’s high-speed railways under its plan, which will expand the total rail network to 120,000 kilometers.