China ramps up efforts to ensure safe travel amid surging passenger numbers on first day of Chunyun
Published: Jan 07, 2023 10:36 PM
Photo: Li Hao/GT

Photo: Li Hao/GT

From Chinese transportation authorities to railways and airlines, the nation has gone all out in ramping up efforts to ensure safe and smooth travel over the 40-day Chunyun or Spring Festival travel rush starting on Saturday, with passenger numbers expected to surge significantly following the continuous optimization of COVID-19 measures.

Some 6.3 million trips are expected to be made using China's railways on Saturday, according to China Railway. More than 10,000 domestic flights are scheduled on Saturday, a year-on-year increase of 13 percent, while the daily passenger volume is forecasted to exceed one million, reaching a peak unseen in several months, reported, citing data from Umetrip.

China's 40-day Chunyun, the world's largest human migration, is expected to see about 2.095 billion passenger trips made this year, up 99.5 percent from the 2022 level, Xu Chengguang, an official with China's Ministry of Transport (MOT), told a State Council Information Office press conference on Friday.

Passenger volume on air, rail and road is set to reach 70.3 percent of the pre-epidemic level in 2019, according to Xu.

In the light of surging travel demand, relevant departments and transportation operators have stepped up efforts with an increased deployment of added transport capacity.

China Eastern Airlines said 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 pre-epidemic level in 2019, the company said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Saturday

Air China plans to arrange 58,633 flights for the Spring Festival travel rush, an increase of 75.9 percent year-on-year with a significant growth in domestic routes, the company told the Global Times on Saturday. An average of 1,445 flights have been scheduled per day, an increase of 620 flights compared with 2022.

Air transportation volume is expected to return to 73 percent of the 2019 level, with the number of daily arranged passenger flights reaching 11,000, Wan Xiangdong from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on Friday.

The passenger volume for flying home and traveling domestically will be able to return to near normal levels, Qi Qi, an independent market watcher told the Global Times on Saturday, adding that it will still take time for the number of flights to fully recover for the Spring Festival travel rush which has been affected by recent epidemic outbreaks.

Meanwhile, China Railway said that 6,077 trains with a passenger capacity of 9.04 million will be operated during peak periods before the holiday, while 6,107 trains carrying 9.14 million passengers are arranged for the returning peak. Maximum passenger capacity is 11 percent higher than the same period of 2019.

The Ministry of Transport held a meeting on Wednesday, which is aimed at guiding authorities across the nation to fully prepare for the Spring Festival travel rush. During the meeting, Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng outlined six major tasks, including guaranteeing logistics, especially targeting the transportation of crucial materials including medication and coal, further strengthening the quality of services, enhancing prevention and protection mechanisms in response to possible risks along with other aspects.

Global Times