(Yicai Global) Feb. 26 -- Hainan, a major tourism province, investigated the unusual price rise of local flight tickets during China's Spring Festival. The province's price authorities interviewed several airlines but found no antitrust violations such as collusive price increases, it said.
Foggy weather severely hampered maritime transport in the Qiongzhou Strait that sunders the tropical island from the mainland over this year's Spring Festival, and this caused ticket prices for flights leaving the Island to take off. Tickets for flights from the resort island to Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai approached CNY20,000 (USD3,100) in the late Lunar New Year holiday, data from several sales websites show, as the Beijing News reported today.
The bureau interviewed several airlines -- among them Hainan Airlines and China Southern Airlines -- finding that the dramatic rise of ticket prices of departing flights stemmed from sold-out economy class and non-stop flights. Many travelers had no choice but to pay for higher-priced business class seats and/or connecting flights entailing multiple stopovers. The bureau uncovered none of the monopolistic practices consumers suspected, however.
Airlines should further make standardized and transparent the price information released on sales websites to avert causing consumer misunderstandings, the bureau stressed, and should raise their transport capacity to help passengers return home.
Both Hainan Airlines and China Southern Airlines have temporarily upped their departures from the Island from Feb. 23 and expanded transport capacity by deploying wide-body aircraft. Average ticket prices will thus gradually descend from March onwards.