HSR trades off with air routes and outcompetes due to access to city centers—China and Europe prove
The National 10 [Daniel Bardsley, Foreign Correspondent, March 20th http://www.thenational.ae/business/full-throttle-on-high-speed-rail]
While high-speed trains may be popular with passengers, they can cause turbulence to the airline industry. The rolling stock may not be as fast as an aircraft, but as the trains run directly into city centres they can be more attractive than flying, even for business travellers. No wonder then that airlines have cut prices to stay competitive. China SouthernAirlines used to charge a reported 700 yuan to fly between Guangzhou and Changsha, which lies on the line to Wuhan. This month, passengers could buy tickets online from the carrier for as little as 170 yuan. In Europe, airlines have dropped some routes between major cities altogether as a result of competition from high-speed railways. Mr Sangiambut believes China's airlines will be put further on the back foot by new train routes.Flights of less than two hours, he says, would be "very much impacted" if high-speed trains start operating the same route. "They will come under pressure when these high-speed networks become more fully operational," he says. "I don't think they will be closed entirely, but frequency could be reduced." The price of a Beijing-Shanghai high-speed train ticket has not been announced yet, but Mr Sangiambut says the ministry of railways will ensure it is "rather competitive" with flying. As a result, he thinks the Beijing-to-Shanghai air route will suffer when the high-speed rail line opens and cuts the rail trip from 10 hours to four hours. "There will be some impact for sure," he says.