March 11, 2009 / 8:02 AM / in 10 years

China allows 35 new air routes to save on fuel

BEIJING, March 11 (Reuters) - China said on Wednesday it would open 35 new air routes this year, shortening flying times and saving fuel for airlines hit by slumping traffic amid a global economic slowndown.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said on its website (www.caac.gov.cn) that the new, more direct routes could be used by civil carriers from Thursday.

Combined, they will cut flying distances by about 2,900 km (1,800 miles), it said.

The measure is intended to help airlines “cut costs and emissions,” the statement cited CAAC official Su Langen as saying.

The routes will allow more direct connections from the southwest and northwest of the country to cities in the east and in the Pearl River Delta centred around southern Guangdong province, it said.

Some flights to and from Europe will also be shortened, it added.

Major Chinese carriers include China Southern Airlines (600029.SS) (1055.HK), Air China (601111.SS) (0753.HK) and China Eastern Airlines (0670.HK) (600115.SS).

China tightly controls its airspace, most of which is managed by the military. Airlines have pressed Beijing to be more flexible though, to help save on fuel costs and cut flying times. (Reporting by Jason Subler and Langi Chiang; Editing by Ben Blanchard and Ken Wills)

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