The nation's airlines will lose 346 million yuan (about HK$324.2 million) in revenue as a result of the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, according to the first official estimate of the impact on China. Airlines said authorities had decided to set up an airline police force in response to the attacks. The Beijing Morning News reported an estimated 346 million yuan would be the loss over a four-month period as a result of the attacks, due to cancelled flights, higher insurance fees and security costs. In the days immediately after September 11, the US closed its air space, resulting in the cancellation of more than 30 Chinese flights, at a loss of 38 million yuan. After the US reopened its air space, it gave preference to a US carrier, United Parcel Service, and limited the flights of Air China, which lost more than 12 million yuan as a result. Air China also lost 86 million yuan from cancellations on routes to North America and the Middle East, as well as loss in revenue on freight. A China Eastern Airlines spokesman said that it had not lost heavily because it had a limited number of overseas routes and relied mainly on domestic traffic. A China Southern Airlines spokesman gave a similar response, saying that it had picked up travellers who had booked seats on US airlines which had cancelled flights to North America. 'But in the longer term, the attacks will impact on the world economy and cut the number of tourists coming to China. This will affect us, but it is too early to see the effect,' he said. The spokesman said the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) had decided to set up a new airline police. 'We have always had security staff on board. In the 1970s it was People's Armed Police in plain clothes,' the spokesman said. 'In the 1980s we stopped using them and took on staff that had been specially trained by CAAC and who wore airline uniform. 'In addition, our stewards have done security work.' The Global Times yesterday reported that Chinese airlines employed about 2,000 security people but this number was insufficient and CAAC was considering recruiting police graduates.