China's aviation regulator has slashed airport charges for international airlines, leaving Hong Kong as one of the last aviation hubs in the region not to aid carriers by cutting landing fees. The Civil Aviation Administration of China cut landing fees and air navigation charges by 20 per cent at the weekend, helping carriers such as Hong Kong Dragon Airlines and Air Macau weather the fallout from the Sars outbreak. The reductions will remain in place until July. Cathay Pacific Airways, the No1 carrier in Hong Kong, does not fly to the mainland. Dragonair, which this month slashed weekly flights to the mainland to 80 from its scheduled 221, is estimated to be losing US$500,000 a day. Based on an A320-sized aircraft, the reduction will save airlines about $200 per visit, or $16,000 a week for Dragonair. Savings could easily double for Hong Kong's No2 airline if it uses larger aircraft such as A330s or B747s. Dragonair was unavailable for comment. A spokesman for the International Air Transport Association (Iata), the world's governing aviation body, welcomed the reductions. 'It is a model that Hong Kong should be looking at,' the spokesman said. 'Reducing the cost by 20 per cent may not offer a full lifeline, but it is a step in the right direction.' Iata chief executive Giovanni Bisignani estimated carriers worldwide faced US$10 billion in losses on international and domestic travel this year due to the Iraq war and Sars. Issuing a profit warning last night, Beijing Capital International Airport said passenger throughput at Beijing Airport in the first 18 days of this month was 88.3 per cent down compared with April last year. The Chinese regulator's decision to reduce the cost burden on airlines is sure to turn the spotlight back on Hong Kong's Airport Authority. Airport Authority commercial director Hans Bakker yesterday defended his organisation's decision to not cut costs for airlines. 'We have our own policy. We do not always follow what the mainland authority does,' Mr Bakker said. The Iata spokesman repeated calls for the Hong Kong government to intervene. 'It just defies logic that other airports in the region can cut costs and pass them on to the carriers but Hong Kong can't. Part of the problem is that Hong Kong government has yet to sit down with the AA and discuss ways that cost can be reduced,' he said. Kuala Lumpur International Airport last month slashed airlines' landing fees by 50 per cent, following Singapore's 30 per cent rebate. Macau has also cut landing fees by 30 per cent. The Iata spokesman said only Narita, Hong Kong and Seoul had yet to offer concessions.