October outbound travel bookings up 35% from September
Published: Sep 29, 2022 01:09 AM
A passenger walks in an airport terminal. Photo: VCG

A passenger walks in an airport terminal. File Photo: VCG

Outbound international flight bookings for October have seen a big increase, with more carriers opening new routes or restarting flights.

The number of outbound flights for October is currently 1,644, an increase of 35 percent from the previous month, according to data sent to the Global Times on Wednesday by information provider VariFlight.

The top three destinations are South Korea, with 20 percent of the total outbound bookings, followed by Japan on 10 percent and Thailand on 7 percent.

The growth is echoed in trade performance. China's trade with the 14 other members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was up 7.5 percent during the first seven months of this year, according to the General Administration of Customs.

From September 11, China Eastern Airlines resumed the route between Qingdao in East China's Shandong Province and Seoul, with one round trip per week. This is another international route that China Eastern has resumed from Qingdao since the resumption of the Qingdao-Osaka route on August 15.

The US was the fourth most popular destination, despite pandemic-related disruption. Reuters reported that the US government suspended 26 US-China flights by four Chinese carriers in response to the Chinese government's decision to suspend some US carriers' flights over COVID-19 cases. The decision affects flights by Xiamen Airlines, Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines from September 5 to September 28.

In addition, the routes to Europe have got busier. China Southern Airlines said that it will resume Guangzhou-Frankfurt passenger flights from October 7 with one flight every Friday. Air China also resumed the route from Chengdu in Southwest China's Sichuan Province to Frankfurt on September 8.

China Southern said its international flights have increased from 48 flights per week to 64, and the number of countries covered is now 27.

China's aviation regulator has decided to relax rules on suspending overseas flights due to COVID-19 in a move that many believe will stimulate inbound travel.

Starting from August 7, any flight with five detected COVID-19 cases will be suspended for one week when the confirmed cases account for 4 percent of all those onboard, and for two weeks when the confirmed cases account for 8 percent, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said.