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Private carriers lead China's aviation rebound from coronavirus

Spring Airlines and China Express outrun 'big 3' state-owned rivals

A Spring Airlines jet: The Chinese budget carrier is offering flight promotions as domestic passenger counts rebound. 

HONG KONG -- China's airlines are restoring flights and regaining passengers for domestic service, defying the industry's toughest period globally since the 9/11 terror attacks, but the rebound is being led by private carriers Spring Airlines and China Express Airlines rather than the country's big three state airlines.

Spring kicked off a promotion Monday, selling air ticket coupons starting at 2,999 yuan ($429) that can be redeemed anytime this year. Buyers receive a round trip to any domestic destination, extended to cover Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

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