China’s civil aviation market to primarily rely on domestic flights till 2024: report
Published: Dec 21, 2020 07:18 PM

Passengers check in at the domestic departure section of Terminal 2 building of the Shanghai Pudong International Airport in east China's Shanghai, Nov. 24, 2020. The airport's recent daily throughput maintains at around 1,000 flights, with passengers wearing face masks and orderly moving in and out. (Xinhua/Ding Ting)

China's aviation market will "rely mostly on domestic flights" until 2024, with a turnover rate above 90 percent, and international flights is unlikely to resume to the 2019 level before 2024, according to a report by the Aviation Industry Development Research Center of China, released recently.

International and domestic routes have dropped sharply since February, due to the heavy impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, domestic flights resumed to last year's level in September, and cargo flights have suffered relatively little impact, reaching more than 92 percent of the turnover rate in the same period last year as of September, according to the report. 

The pandemic's impact on the overseas market, however, may continue for another one to two years, judging by the current evolution of the coronavirus, while domestic flights continue to flourish. 

According to the report, it is estimated that between 2020 and 2039, the average annual growth rate of China's air passenger turnover will be 5.3 percent, reaching 3.3 trillion passenger-kilometers. The average annual growth rate of China's air cargo turnover is expected to be even higher at 7 percent. 

By the end of 2039, China Airlines' passenger aircraft fleet will reach 8,854, with 645 freighters. For the shorter-term forecast, the report says that the annual flight time of China's general aviation market will reach 6.3 million hours, driving up the market shares of short-distance transportation, business flights and low-altitude travel to reach the level in developed countries.

It is estimated that by the end of 2025, the number of general aircraft in the Chinese market will reach 5,815, and by the end of 2035, the number will exceed 25,000. The demand for general aircraft in the Chinese market will be 3,111 in the next five years, and demand will exceed 23,000 in the next 15 years.

The growth in China's air transport industry has shown signs of slowing in recent years. In 2019, it reached 660 million in passenger volume and 7.53 million tons in freight volume, up 7.9 percent and 2 percent respectively. As of the end of 2019, China's air transport fleet stood at 3,818 aircraft including 3,645 passenger planes and 173 cargo aircraft. 

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