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Passport OK for flights, authority says

By Cui Jia | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-24 07:26

Confusion clarified after some airports required passengers to show ID card

Chinese passengers can use their passports to board domestic flights as long as they use the same form of ID to make a booking, the country's top airport authority said on Tuesday after several airports began requiring people to present their identity cards.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China released a statement on Tuesday clarifying that Chinese passports can be used as valid ID to board domestic flights.

Many people were confused about new rules adopted on May 8 at some airports, including Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and Zhuhai Airport, both in Guangdong province.

According to a statement from Zhuhai Airport on Monday, passports are not acceptable as valid travel identification for Chinese passengers, based on new security check procedures, so they must present their ID cards to fly domestically.

After the airport authority released its clarifying statement, China Daily contacted the airport again, and a security officer said people could board domestic flights with a passport only.

The authority didn't explain why some airports adopted the rule and others didn't, including Beijing Capital International Airport.

"The CAAC's intention could be to inform people to board the plane with the form of ID used in making the booking. Something may have gone wrong when it sent out directives to the airports, which has created misunderstandings," said Li Xiaojin, a professor of aviation economics at Civil Aviation University of China in Tianjin.

Under the circumstances, the authority needs to explain to the public and airports as soon as possible to make things right, Li said. "Also, it needs to educate the public about changes in check-in policies, with explanations well in advance, because it will affect so many people."

According to the civil aviation safety inspection rules, which were passed by the CAAC and took effect on Jan 1, a passport is a valid travel document for domestic flights-contradicting the short-lived rule.

Many people complained on social media.

"It took more than 15 days for the CAAC to clarify the situation, which has confused and affected many passengers. I don't think it is acceptable," said Xiong Tiantian, 30, who was scheduled to fly from Beijing to Auckland, New Zealand, via Guangzhou on Wednesday.

She said she called the customer service hotlines at Beijing Capital and Guangzhou Baiyun International airports on Sunday to inquire about the new rule.

"I was confused and a bit shocked when I found out that the two airports have two different policies," she said. "I've decided to travel with my ID card just in case something changes during my holiday."

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