December 7, 2015 / 5:30 AM / 4 years ago

China reforming slot-assignment process at some major airports

BEIJING, Dec 7 (Reuters) - China is making allocation of new time slots at some key airports a competitive process, a move that could give private airlines a fairer opportunity to get some desired slots compared with state-owned carriers which have been favoured so far.

As part of a trial run, time slots for additional domestic flights in 2016 at the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport will be put up for sale from this week, an official at the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) told Reuters by phone.

At the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, who gets what slots will be decided by drawing of lots, CAAC said in a statement on its website. Airlines can also pay to get the desired slots.

Industry executives, such as Wang Zhenghua, the chairman of China’s biggest budget carrier Spring Airlines, have said the previous system was unfair to private airlines as state-owned airlines were allocated all the good time slots.

Of the total 196 additional weekly landing and take-off slots that will be available in 2016 at each of the two airports, half will be for international routes and still be assigned. The other half for domestic services will be decided by the market, according to the statement. (Reporting by Fang Yan and Matthew Miller in BEIJING; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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