China’s aviation regulator is urging airlines to cap their fleet sizes as travel demand weakens amid the global economic slowdown, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has advised domestic carriers to cancel or postpone aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2009 and allow aircraft leasing agreements with foreign companies to run out. It also suggests that some aircraft be grounded, sold, retired or converted from passenger to cargo use. The CAAC will not approve applications to set up new airlines. Existing carriers are to be refunded some of the infrastructure fees and business taxes paid in 2008, and will be exempted from these charges in the first half of 2009. Chinese airlines account for 69 of the 437 planes delivered by Airbus through November 30, and 11% of total orders received during the period. Chinese airlines account for 19 of Boeing’s 338 deliveries, with 210 orders outstanding, as of the end of November.
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