Chinese aviation recovering with April passenger numbers back to a third of pre-pandemic levels Published: 2020/4/23 4:07:45

An airplane from China Eastern Airlines at the Beijing Daxing International Airport Photo: Courtesy of China Eastern Airlines

The Chinese aviation industry is on track to make a smooth recovery amid the backdrop of work resumption across the country, as April data shows that passenger transport traffic is back to one third of the level it was before the outbreak of COVID-19.

As of April 21, average daily passenger transportation in the month by civil aviation had reached 494,400 passengers, an increase of 7.9 percent compared with March. That's around 29 percent of the passenger traffic from the same period last year, Jin Junhao, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on Wednesday.

In the past week, April 15-21, average daily passenger transportation of civil aviation has recovered to 530,900, an increase of 15.8 percent compared with March, again about 29 percent of the passenger traffic at the same time last year, he said.

He added that average daily flight frequency is 6,993, an increase of 7 percent from March.

"Domestic passenger flights have shown a recovery trend recently, and that trend started in late February," Jin said.

In March, civil aviation transported 458,300 passengers per day, an increase of 69.8 percent from February; the average daily flight frequency was 6,538, compared with February, an increase of 20.5 percent, CAAC said.

Affected by the epidemic, passenger traffic and flights have fallen sharply since January 23, and dropped to their lowest level since the outbreak on February 13, with a single-day passenger traffic of 132,900, which was 93.2 percent less than before the outbreak, CAAC said.

The International Air Transport Association said in a report on Tuesday that domestic demand began to recover when the rate of new COVID-19 infections in China fell into single digits and rapidly headed towards zero.

While there was an early upswing from mid-February through the first week of March, the number of domestic flights plateaued at just over 40 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels.

But it warned that actual demand is expected to be significantly weaker as load factors on these flights are reported to be low.

China accounts for some 24 percent of all domestic passengers in the world.

Posted in: AVIATION

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