Chinese civil aviation regulator vows to build passenger traffic back to around 90% of pre-pandemic levels
Published: Mar 15, 2021 04:06 PM
File Photo: Xinhua

File Photo: Xinhua

Chinese civil aviation regulator vows to build passenger traffic back to around 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels, while aiming to reduce losses and increase profits for aviation companies.

Wu Shijie, an official from Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said during an online media briefing that the passenger traffic in February was 23.95 million trips, a growth of 187.1 percent than the same period last year.

He noted that traffic is equivalent to 44.5 percent of the same period in 2019, and "the degree of recovery is still not high." 

Wu's remarks came as the turning point as Chinese airlines are now witnessing green shoots of recovering resulting from China's COVID-19 prevention measures are slowly released, bringing hopes for airlines' recovery efforts. 

All three major carriers report a rising passenger turnover. China Southern said on Monday that its passenger turnover in February was up 127 percent year-on-year, followed by 83 percent of China Eastern and 44.9 percent of Air China.

The Beijing local government on March 12 said that it would no longer needs travelers from domestic low-risk areas with negative nucleic acid test results within seven days upon arrival, which triggered another round of travel fever.

Travel platform data shows that the current domestic air ticket bookings during the Qingming Festival which falls on April 4, are close to the level of the same period in 2019. 

The grounded fleet belonging to China Eastern Airlines has fallen to zero at its Shanghai base, the carrier said in a note sent to the Global Times on Friday, another sign that the aviation market is recovering. 

At present, China Eastern's average daily passenger flight volume has recovered to about 2,400 flights. It is expected that there will be a surge in travel during the upcoming Chinese traditional festivals such as Qingming Festival and the May Day holidays.

The cargo transport is still in full swing, as the volume of cargo and mail transportation in February increased by 22.0 percent compared with the same period in 2019. 

CAAC said it will continue to relax the access restrictions flying from the regional airports to hub airports including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, further stimulating market vitality.

CAAC said it will speeding up the construction of major civil aviation infrastructure projects. During the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), China's civil aviation will implement the reconstruction and expansion of hub airports from cities including Shanghai Pudong, Guangzhou Baiyun, and Shenzhen Baoan, and there will be more than 30 new civil airports nationwide by 2025

Global Times
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