AP News

Asia's budget airline boom bypasses China

HONG KONG (AP) — A budget airline boom that is sweeping Asia is leaving Chinese travelers behind.

From almost none a decade ago, the region now has more than 50 low cost carriers. The fast growth of no-frills airlines such as AirAsia and the slew of recent start-ups including Singapore's Scoot and AirAsia Japan underline surging demand in the region for affordable air travel.

The rise of budget carriers in Asia follows similar expansion in Europe and North America in previous decades.

But China's government still keeps tight control of the rapidly growing airline industry. That means three big state-owned carriers dominate. Aviation authorities are shielding them from competition as well as keeping the industry from growing too rapidly and compromising safety.

That means travelers can pay twice as much for tickets.

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