Spring Airlines promotes air-train East China service
Spring Airlines, the nation’s only budget carrier, is joining hands with a regional bureau affiliated to the Ministry of Railways by launching a onehour air-train travel service for passengers in East China, the carrier told a media briefing on Tuesday. Shanghai- based Spring Airlines released its new airplus-high-speed-train product with Shanghai Railway Bureau on Tuesday. Passengers taking flights with Spring Airlines to or out of Shanghai can get free high-speed train tickets to the cities of Suzhou, Hangzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou and Jiaxing, which are all within a one-hour train journey from Shanghai in the Yangtze River Delta region.
According to the low-cost carrier, passengers have been able to book their trips to and from these cities through Spring Airlines online since Tuesday.
Spring Airlines plans to extend the air-train service to more East China cities in September, including Kunshan, Ningbo, Yiwu and Zhenjiang, said Wang Zhenghua, founder and chairman of Spring Airlines.
By offering such a service, Wang believes the low-cost carrier will have a better ticket- price competitiveness. Spring Airlines offers between a 20 and 40 percent lower-than-market average ticket price, according to Wang.
“This is not the first time that we are offering such a service together with domestic airlines. We can design more market-oriented products for target customers of specific airlines,” said Zhao Jun, deputy director of the Shanghai Railway Bureau.
According to Zhao, the bureau launched the nation’s first air- plus- train product for passengers together with China Eastern Airlines Co Ltd as early as May 2012. Last November, they launched a similar product with Air China Ltd in Shanghai.
“At a time when the railway department is undergoing an unprecedented restructuring and transformation, we should learn more from the successful experiences of both State-owned companies and privately owned enterprises,” said Zhao.
“In May 2012, we launched this product, which will book and pay for the high-speed train tickets if passengers of China Eastern need to go to cities near Shanghai or Wuhan,” said Zhang Chi, a senior manager with the marketing development department of the marketing and sales committee of China Eastern.
According to Zhang, there are about 10,000 passengers using this special service provided by China Eastern every month at the moment. “More and more customers are getting used to booking this service from us,” said Zhang, who recalled that at the launch of the service only a few hundred people monthly would travel by the air-plus-train method.
The air-plus-train product from China Eastern currently covers destinations close to Shanghai including Nanjing, Zhenjiang, Changzhou, Wuxi, Suzhou, Kunshan, Jiaxing, Tongxiang, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Taizhou, Yiwu, Danyang. Near Wuhan it serves Jingzhou and Yichang.
“The cities are chosen according to market demand and the availability of highspeed trains. This is why destinations as far as Ningbo and Taizhou are also included in our product,” said Zhang.