CAAC targets return to 75% of 2019 level as aviation market recovers
Published: Jan 07, 2023 12:51 AM
Passengers for flight HU703 to Hong Kong check in at Haikou Meilan International Airport in South China's Hainan Province on November 16, 2022. The flight marks the official resumption of regular international and regional routes for the airport amid the pandemic. Photo: cnsphotos

Passengers for flight HU703 to Hong Kong check in at Haikou Meilan International Airport in South China's Hainan Province on November 16, 2022. Photo: cnsphotos

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the country's civil aviation regulator, said this year it aims to return to 75 percent of the 2019 level in terms of market performance, with the recovery now underway.

In a note sent to the Global Times on Friday, the CAAC said it aims for total transportation turnover of 97.6 billion ton-kilometers, passenger transportation volume of 460 million person-times, and cargo and mail transportation volume of 6.17 million tons this year, with overall recovery to about 75 percent of the level before the epidemic.

The CAAC said it will encourage large airlines to build air express lines between hubs, encourage small and medium-sized airlines to focus on regional markets, and restore the international aviation market in a stable and orderly manner.

It will also increase infrastructure construction, and strive to issue certificates to 258 transport airports in 2023.

China has announced packages of measures to lift travel bans, including cancelling inbound quarantine for international arrivals, and will resume Chinese citizens' outbound travel in an orderly way, as part of an overall plan to downgrade the country's COVID-19 management from January 8, 2023.

Wan Xiangdong from the CAAC said at a press conference that air transportation volume in the coming Spring Festival travel rush is expected to return to 73 percent of the 2019 level, with the number of daily passenger flights reaching 11,000.

To cope with the surge in travel demand, the CAAC said it approved 10,313 extra flights, including 3,459 flights serving Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong Province as of Thursday.

China Eastern Airlines told the Global Times on Friday that it plans to allocate 753 aircraft for the upcoming travel rush, with average planned daily flights of more than 2,900, and the planned passenger seat kilometers returning to 87 percent of the level in 2019.

It is predicted that Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing Daxing International Airport in the capital city are expected to see 62,000 flights taking off and landing, an increase of about 44 percent over last year's Spring Festival travel season, the CAAC North China Region Administration said in a statement sent to the Global Times.

China Southern Airlines said the group plans to operate more than 100,000 flights during the Spring Festival travel season, with an average daily planned flight volume of nearly 2,800.

It will have flights serving routes from Guangzhou to cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh.

Information provider VariFlight said that from January 1 to 5, the actual number of passenger flights on international routes exceeded 1,000, a year-on-year increase of 66 percent. At present, the number of daily passenger flights on international routes is more than 200.

But it predicted that there will be a soaring number of international flights at the end of the March as major domestic airlines are actively applying for the resumption of international flights.