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Check the chart: Why airline fares in China might drop

A change in regulatory policy could encourage greater competition.

Foreign airlines which fly on 20 popular long-haul routes to China face the prospect of lowering ticket prices or forging closer tie-ups with Chinese carriers to stay competitive as Beijing begins to ease decade-old route restrictions on Oct. 1. The routes, which account for nearly 40,000 daily seats or around 20 percent of all Chinese long-haul daily capacity, will now be eligible to accommodate one more Chinese airline based on the aviation regulator's criteria, according to data compiled for Reuters by Chinese aviation data firm Variflight.

Foreign airlines to face new rivals on popular China routes