Future Chinese airlines that are planning to commence operations after June 2019 will be required to operate from “Tier 2” cities in an effort to address the congestion at the country’s main airports and airspace.
The move is aimed to boost air travel in the country while easing the effects of the rapid growth Chinese aviation industry, especially for China’s main air travel hubs in the Tier One cities which include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Tianjin.
China’s Tier Two cities include growing metropolitan areas such as Hangzhou, Nanjing, Jinan, Qingdao, Chongqing, Dalian, Ningbo, Xiamen, Chengdu, Wuhan, Harbin, Shenyang, Changsha, Zhengzhou, and Fuzhou.
According to Shi Wu from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the move would promote the growth of travel in other parts of the country. “Airlines operating at Tier 2 airports will help boost passenger growth and open more routes, especially to the less developed western region,”
Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth, speaking in Brussels on Tuesday, said the “good news in China is that they are building some 100 new airports.” But he noted, the Chinese authorities are not doing a lot to improve the management of the country's airspace.
China’s aviation industry is seeing rapid growth, with Chinese carriers serving 589 million travelers in 2017 with a combined fleet of over 3000 jets. By the end of 2018, China will see 600 million travelers. Aviation industry observers predict China will overtake the US to become the largest air travel market in the world by the year 2025.