April 18, 2019 / 6:21 AM / 2 months ago

Air China to fly Shanghai-London route as Beijing eases restrictions

BEIJING (Reuters) - Air China on Wednesday received approval to launch a long-haul route from Shanghai to London, and permit the carrier to compete with China Eastern Airlines, as Beijing eased a decade-old “one route, one airline” policy.

Previously, Shanghai-headquartered China Eastern Airlines was the only Chinese carrier on the route.

China’s aviation regulator said last year it would ease the policy which had been in place since 2009. It had been aimed at preventing the country’s mostly state-backed airlines from competing too aggressively against each other on long-haul routes that were hard to profit from.

The route from Shanghai to London will soon have two Chinese airlines - Air China and China Eastern Airlines offer services, according to a statement from the Civil Aviation Administration of China published on Wednesday.

Analysts say the policy’s relaxation will also likely increase pressure faced by foreign airlines on 20 popular long-haul routes who have long enjoyed limited competition from Chinese carriers.

Reporting by Stella Qiu and Brenda Goh, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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