Air travel may exceed year-earlier level for coming holiday
Published: Sep 29, 2020 07:28 PM

This photo shows part of the inside of the main terminal of the new Beijing airport under construction in the city's Daxing district on Friday. The Civil Aviation Administration of China officially named Beijing's new airport Beijing Daxing International Airport, which is expected to begin operations by September 30, 2019. Photo: IC

The Chinese aviation industry, which was hard hit by the coronavirus, is reviving with the coming eight-day holiday period expected to spur a new round of travel fever.  

Estimates from airports around the nation indicate they expect to see a passenger travel peak during the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holidays, a sign that the sector is recovering.

Two airports in Beijing are expected to serve about 2 million people from September 28 to October 11. Flights from Beijing Capital International Airport may carry 2.189 million passengers and Beijing Daxing International Airport another 750,000, data from the airports said.

Other airports such as Taiyuan airport in Taiyuan, North China's Shanxi Province and the airport in Hotan County, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, see passenger throughput coming back.

"The civil aviation market will continue to strengthen during the holidays, and passenger traffic is expected to exceed the level of the same period last year," Yu Zhanfu, global partner of Roland Berger's strategy consultancy, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

The travel fever is also boosting the number of domestic flights.

China Southern Airlines plans to operate about 2,000 flights at the Daxing hub during the holiday period, with a maximum of 220 flights per day. It is estimated that more than 160,000 passengers will take China Southern Airlines flights from Daxing airport to more than 40 major cities across the country.

China Eastern Airlines said it plans to operate 24,202 flights with 4.033 million seats during the holidays, and flying capacity will basically return to the same period last year.

Data from information provider VariFlight showed that the total number of flights during the coming holidays has returned to the level of 2019, indicating an ongoing industry recovery. 

Airlines' performances set a monthly record in August. Data from the Civil Aviation Administration of China showed a recovery of more than 80 percent, exceeding the January figure before the virus-induced lockdowns. 

Outbound travel has also seen a rebound recently. Air China will resume daily flights from Wuhan, Hubei Province to Macao on Wednesday, the second regular international route restored after the Wuhan-Seoul route.

Juneyao Airlines said Tuesday that it will operate a weekly direct flight from Zhengzhou, Central China's Henan Province to Helsinki, Finland, starting October 12, marking the first regular intercontinental flight for Chinese carriers since the COVID-19 outbreak