24 SEPTEMBER 2018
© 2022 Business Travel News Ltd.
Far East airlines were put under further competitive pressure yesterday, Sunday, as China's sprawling bullet train network was extended to Hong Kong, providing a direct connection to 44 mainland destinations.
With the addition of services from Guangzhou and Shenzhen – the major cities closest to Hong Kong – the Express Rail Link (XRL) will cut what is now a day’s train trip to Beijing to 9hr.
China’s high-speed rail network is easily the world's largest, stretching for 25,000km, and is a strong competitor for airlines in a market where congested airspace and limited landing slots mean regular flight delays.
Since China’s first bullet-train service connected Beijing to the nearby port city of Tianjin a decade ago, Chinese airlines have steadily lost customers, especially for journeys shorter than 800km.
Beijing-based travel consultant Yu Zhanfu said: “The fact passengers will get off the train in downtown Hong Kong rather than at the airport on an island and having then to take another train ride to the city will prompt many to switch.”
In addition, the high-speed rail would strengthen the economic ties between mainland China cities and Hong Kong, a big breakthrough as it is the first time they would have a direct link with “the most important hub in southern China”.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Andrew Sharp, St Albans
Surely the station is in downtown Kowloon, rather than downtown Hong Kong?
Stephen Hillcoat, Turkey
.....and yet, we can’t even agree an infrastructure for a decade (unlike the ASEAN); and install HS2!!