Shanghai-based China Eastern and Guangzhou-based China Southern airlines, which have been designated as main operators at Beijing’s new airport—are expected to benefit from the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s (CAAC) new policies on international operations and Beijing’s “One city, two airports” rules, which are scheduled to take effect Oct. 1.

Beijing’s new airport is scheduled to open in 2019.

The new policies governing international services allow main airport operators to apply for more routes to America, Europe (excluding Russia), Oceania and Africa. The CAAC is gradually abandoning an old practice that “one intercontinental route can only be operated by one domestic carrier” to encourage competition to maximize public interest.

In addition, the Beijing Capital Airport and the yet-to-be opened Beijing’s new airport will be considered one destination, which means an international route originating from either airport will be regarded as the same route based on Beijing’s “One city two airports” international air traffic rights allocation policy.

If domestic carriers want to apply as a new operator, CAAC noted it would make a comprehensive evaluation based on four indexes: consumer interests, hub development, resource utilization efficiency and operation quality.

Local industry analysts point out SkyTeam members China Eastern and China Southern will take advantage of the new international policies despite the fact there is little room for adding more new services in the Sino-US market in the short term because of a saturation of air traffic rights.

China Southern previously said it would plan to fly between Beijing and Heathrow once Beijing’s new airport is open next year. So far, Air China is the only Chinese carrier that operates a Beijing-London route with two daily flights; UK-based British Airways operates this service with one daily flight.

China Eastern chairman Liu Shaoyong in March said Beijing’s new airport should be given priority when distributing international slots to open routes to developed countries.

In addition, CAAC said SkyTeam member carriers that are designated to move to the new airport will transfer their current international routes operated from Beijing Capital Airport within four years after the new airport opens. Currently China Southern operates only one direct intercontinental service between Beijing and Amsterdam; China Eastern has no direct intercontinental service from Beijing.

Chinese carriers have seen a rapid growth of international demand in recent months, although yield is declining on some international routes, especially on US and Australia services, which are experiencing overcapacity.

According to the CAAC, Chinese airlines carried 50.7 million passengers in April, up 15.3% from the year-ago period when international passenger boardings jumped 25.1% and maintained more than a 20% growth rate for two consecutive months.

Domestic carriers also transported 605,000 tonnes of goods last month; cargo traffic volume on international routes rose 11.6% year-over-year.