Chinese airlines expect to see turning point in new season
Published: Mar 30, 2021 03:39 AM
Photo: Courtesy of Air China

Photo: Courtesy of Air China


The civil aviation industry, which has been struggling for a long time under the epidemic, is hoping for a turning point in its recovery process.

Starting from Sunday, Chinese airlines began the summer and autumn seasons, and official data showed that there will be 54 new routes added. It is widely believed that the coming holidays will see strong competition in the battle for recovery after the epidemic.

New season

After the severe damage from the epidemic, the civil aviation industry has been eagerly awaiting this new season.

Air China said it will have more routes around the coming Qingming Festival holidays and May Day holidays, covering some cities including South China's Hainan Province. More wide-body aircraft will be used on flights to Sanya, Haikou and Chengdu. 

China Eastern Airlines will add 33 new routes. The total daily average number for China Eastern Airlines will reach more than 2,830 flights, mostly in the domestic market.

China Southern Airlines said it will focus on increasing its capacity in the domestic market. It plans to open 29 new domestic routes and increase the number of destinations to 161. The number of domestic routes will increase by more than 25 percent compared with the same period in 2019. China Southern Airlines (excluding Xiamen Airlines) plans to implement 629 routes, with an average daily flight volume of more than 2,100.

China United Airlines will offer 99 routes in the new season, with 64 routes to be implemented at Beijing Daxing International Airport, including 230 daily flights.

Domestic airline companies have scheduled a total of 92,756 flights, up 10.7 percent from the same period last year. Of these, 90,460 will be domestic passenger flights, and 2,296 will be cargo flights, a year-on-year increase of 10.6 percent and 13.2 percent respectively, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). 

Market watchers said the amount of new routes shows the confidence in the market recovery among the airlines.   

Small players 

Many small and medium-sized airlines are also taking the initiative to boost their recovery prospects.

Low-cost carrier 9 Air gained the rights to a route from Beijing to Shanghai for the first time, according to CAAC, and the carrier also won permission to operate flights from Guangzhou.

Capital Airlines, a subsidiary of HNA Group, has also obtained operating permits for popular routes from Beijing to Guangzhou and Chengdu.

Qi Qi, a market watcher, said allowing small players to fly to first-tier cities shows the support for the smaller-size airlines.

Market watchers said the new routes are the result of a surge in market demand. July, August, and September are the peak seasons with most demand, and the coming holidays will give further impetus for a travel boom.