China's civil aviation agency said it will pilot direct transfer luggage services in 29 airports, including two in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in a bid to better serve customers.
The move comes in response to a rising travel demand, Jin Junhao, an official from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on Thursday.
He said that these airports can cooperate with each other, with airlines and third parties, and that airlines could also cooperate with each other to provide services by means such as code sharing.
However, he warned that there are still obstacles ahead, as the procedure will be very complicated.
Passengers are currently unable to enjoy direct transfers of luggage in any country, unless their tickets are issued from airlines of the same alliance, or the airlines have a code-sharing partnership, he noted.
He also said that the investment resources of transit airports are insufficient, and some airlines worry that the new service will weaken their own network resources and bring a loss of customers, and that there is a lack of a unified information system to support data sharing.
CAAC said that the coverage rate of direct routes between international hubs and regional airports is 25.6 percent, and that the coverage rate of direct routes between regional airports is only 0.6 percent.
China had a total of 235 airports by the end of last year, up six from the previous year.
From January to July, total passenger traffic was 381 million individual trips, an increase of 8.7 percent year-on-year. The growth rate decreased by 3.4 percentage points compared with the same period last year, CAAC said.