(Yicai Global) Feb. 12 -- Air and high-speed rail transport are complementary and there is a solid foundation for cooperation between the two in China, Liu Feng, director of the transportation department under the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said at a press briefing.
Competition between land and air transport has been heating up as travel by train becomes increasingly faster and more convenient. National rail operator China Railway Corp.’s Fuxing bullet train is the world’s fastest, capable of traveling at up to 350 kilometers per hour and covering the Shanghai-Beijing route (over 1,300 kilometers) in 4.5 hours.
Planes can make the same journey in a little over two hours, but Chinese air travel is notorious for delays and passengers still need to arrive in advance to check in for their flight. During the briefing, Liu listed three reasons why travelers this Chinese New Year should pick air transport over high-speed.
Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is based on the lunar calendar. It is celebrated in China as a week-long holiday, but many residents, such as migrant workers, opt to take a longer vacation around the dates so they can head home to see their family or travel to new places. The actual Lunar New Year falls on Feb. 16 this year, with the national holiday kicking off the day before.
Speed was the first reason Liu named as to why air transport trumps high-speed rail. Travel times become notably shorter over long distances and when traveling internationally, he added.
Capacity was another advantage when traveling by plane. The CAAC has more than 3,300 transport aircraft in operation across 50 passenger airlines, Liu said. Passenger loads for the first week of the Spring Festival travel period have reached nearly 80 percent, he added.
Finally, business travelers prefer the products and services available via air transport, Liu added.