BEIJING (TheStreet) -- Traveling in China via high-speed rail was in vogue back in July 2011 when two bullet trains collided near the city of Wenzhou, killing 40 people.
The horrific wreck so rocked public confidence in the nation's high-speed railway system that significant numbers of nervous travelers migrated to airlines and slow trains for intercity trips. Negative sentiment hurt sales of bullet train tickets for months after the crash.
Now, China's airlines could face a similar psychological backlash following the March 8 disappearance -- and perhaps a crash into the Indian Ocean -- of a Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines jetliner. (And as TheStreet's Ted Reed has reported, this hasn't been the only plane to flicker off the radar.)
The first Chinese airline affected by post-MH370 traveler jitters could be the state-owned carrier Air China (AIRYY), whose stock trades in Shanghai and Hong Kong.Other domestic carriers that could be affected by a fear of flying among Chinese travelers -- and, for that matter, tourists who want a foreign beach in sunny countries such as Malaysia -- include China Southern (ZNH), China Eastern (CEA), and Shanghai-listed Hainan Airlines. Potential trouble at Air China, and implications for the Chinese airline industry as a whole, were cited Wednesday in a Huatai Securities analysis of the carrier's latest financial report.