European airlines operate at 50% lower capacity than last year
Published: Jun 02, 2020 12:03 PM

A flight carrying German business travelers from Frankfurt, jointly arranged by German Chamber of Commerce in China, German diplomatic missions, and Lufthansa airlines, landed in Tianjin at 11:45 am on Saturday. Photo: Courtesy of Lufthansa Group

European airlines are now operating at 50 percent of their capacity last year, and are looking to China to "play a role" in boosting their revenues when travel resumes, a European business group told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The European aviation industry has been hit by the coronavirus outbreak, with international flights coming to a virtual standstill, said Tom Groot Haar, policy and communications coordinator of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC). "As of last week, we're [at a capacity] 50 percent lower than last year. The passenger number is still very bad," Haar told the Global Times.

Under the "Five-One" policy launched by the Chinese government that aims to curb imported COVID-19 infections, one European airline can fly to one city per week, and occasionally chartered flights between China and European nations are allowed, according to Haar. 

"What China could do is at some point allow the European airlines to resume flights to China under… certain testing and quarantine procedures. When travel resumes, China can play a role," Joerg Wuttke, president of EUCCC, told the Global Times. 

The EUCCC on Tuesday released a report on the sustainability of the operating environment for airlines in China. The report noted that European countries have been looking to upgrade air traffic rights, while pointing out that long-haul routes in China lack competitiveness. 

The report urged local aviation regulators in China to reform slot allocation procedures, financial support practices, the air traffic management system and bilateral aviation agreements to bring operations more in line with international norms.

In May 2019, China and the EU signed an agreement on civil aviation safety and a horizontal aviation agreement to strengthen their aviation cooperation.

Global Times