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Spring Festival airfares skyrocket

[ 2010-01-15 14:29]     字号 [] [] []  
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The cost of domestic airfares is expected to increase once the 40-day Spring Festival travel season - the world's largest movement of people - kicks off on Jan 30.

"Airfares will go up earlier than the previous years during this travel season," said Chen Zhenyao of Ctrip, one of the country's leading travel agencies.

"Air tickets will be most expensive from Feb 6 to Feb 12 before the Chinese New Year (Feb 14), and then after Feb 18, when people start returning from family reunions," he said.

Due to the massive demand, travelers have less opportunity to buy discounted tickets on flights from Shanghai to Wuhan, Shenyang, Dalian, Changchun and Harbin during the season, Ctrip's Shanghai office said.

"I could only book a 2,800-yuan ($410) full-price ticket from Shanghai to Xinjiang. It's really expensive, but I have to go home for the festival," said 26-year-old Wei Tian, who is employed in Shanghai.

On normal days, a plane ticket from Shanghai to Xinjiang is less than 1,400 yuan, Wei said.

Hu Wenna, another Shanghai resident, who will fly to Shenyang to be with her family for the New Year, said booking well in advance does not lower the cost of the ticket. "There's no point booking a ticket ahead because there's no discount anyway."

Travel agents said that they are helpless and cannot provide cheap air tickets.

Airfares are set to drop significantly after Chinese New Year's Eve (Feb 13), only to skyrocket again at the end of February.

"Airfares are generally low right after New Year's Eve, as most travelers have already arrived at their destinations by then. The price will rise again at the end of February, and won't stabilize until around March 10," said Meng Yuan, spokeswoman for Qunar, an e-ticketing website.

A record 25.41 billion trips are expected to be made during the 40-day period this year, according to National Development and Reform Commission statistics. The civil aviation segment alone will ferry about 28.94 million people, up 12.5 percent from last year.


1. How long is the festival travel season?

2. On what date do airfares drop significantly?

3. When do prices stabilize, according to travel agents?


1. 40 days.

2. After Chinese New Year's Eve (Feb 13).

3. Until around March 10.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Spring Festival airfares skyrocket

About the broadcaster:

Spring Festival airfares skyrocket

Linda Kennedy is a presenter and writer. She has reported and commented extensively on BBC TV, and was a correspondent for "News at Ten" on ITV. She also wrote a column for The Scotsman newspaper.