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China's Big Three:
Update on their expansion story — March 2018

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While the Big Three continue to dominate the Chinese aviation industry, their focus increasingly looks abroad — both to international routes and, now, to realising the benefits of investment from foreign carriers.

Domestically, traffic at Air China, China Southern and China Eastern has risen by a third in three years, and — so far — the steady growth in disposable income and the increasing propensity to travel overall within the country is more than enough to withstand the rising competition airlines face from High Speed Railways. China has almost 13,000 miles of HSR, and 1.5bn passengers travelled on trains in the country in 2016. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) observes that HSR has halved the number of air passengers on routes under 500km, but China measures 3,250 miles east to west and 3,400 miles north to south, and aviation holds the advantages on longer internal routes.


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