[photopress:air_airplane_1.jpg,full,alignright]In China aviation there is an odd paradox. While all over the world air fares are climbing, routes are being cut and services terminated in China the fares to elsewhere are very low. Indeed, as low as they have been for some time. This will not last long.
It is possible, as suggested by Fons Tuinstra of China Herald that these latest price cuts are due to the restrictive visa policies which have hurt inbound travel to China.
At the same time some other airlines flying to other parts of Asia are also hurting. On the golden route London-Bangkok-Sydney the load factor has been a consistent 100% for so long it was thought to be immutable. Wrong. Flights now have spare seats. On a BA flight to Bangkok last week the writer had three seats to himself. And that has not happened for many years.
And despite the low prices being quoted on long flights at the moment the affects of the price of oil in there if you care to look for them.
Some Chinese carriers are cutting flight capacities to trim losses. Apart from totally suspending routes from Guangzhou to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Angkor, and Phuket, China Southern is also reducing capacity on its flights to 11 international destinations, including Los Angeles, Paris, Sydney and Singapore.
Loss-making Shanghai carrier China Eastern is set to follow suit.
Hong Kong International Airport is worried that direct travel links between the mainland and Taiwan could cause it to lose 6% of its traffic and about HK$3 billion in travel revenue each year. Perhaps more if Chinese airlines decide to trim their flights.
There will be much, much more of this before the party is over.