Chinese civil aviation see passengers surge in January following COVID-19 response optimization
Published: Feb 16, 2023 02:59 PM

A charter flight carrying 107 Indian businessmen arrived in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, on August 9,2022. Photo:Courtesy of China Southern Airlines

A charter flight carrying 107 Indian businessmen arrived in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, on August 9,2022. Photo:Courtesy of China Southern Airlines

The Chinese civil aviation industry transported 39.78 million passengers in January, a growth of 34.8 percent year-on-year, showing a fast recovery trend in the industry after the COVID19 response optimization. 

The passenger turnover has recovered to 74.5 percent of the same period in 2019, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China on Thursday. 

Several Chinese airlines announced their January performances on Wednesday..

Air China said its group's passenger turnover rose by 62.2 percent year-on-year in January, or 121.6 percent month-on-month. 

China Southern Airlines said that its passenger turnover in January calculated by revenue passenger kilometers increased by 44.62 percent year-on-year, followed by growth of 43 percent year-on-year for China Eastern Airlines.

The growth came after China optimized its COVID-19 response in light of the evolving situation, lifting restrictions on international passenger flights, and optimized regulations on travel between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong and Macao.

The moves led to the busiest travel rush in three years, with 1.595 billion passengers from January 7 to February 15, up 50.5 percent over the same period last year, according to data from the State Council's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism on Wednesday.

Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport said that its single-day passenger flow was up to 156,000 during the Spring Festival holidays, and this year the airport is trying to recover to 90 percent of the passenger throughput in 2019.

It is estimated that by the end of February, Shenzhen airport will have nearly 120 international passenger flights per week, doubling from the end of January.

Cathay Pacific on Wednesday announced figures for January, which showed positive signs as it continues to rebuild and restore connectivity at the Hong Kong international aviation hub.

Cathay Pacific carried 1,031,893 passengers last month, up 4,078 percent compared with the same period last year.

"With the return of quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland on January 8, we saw increased demand for travel into the Chinese mainland, both from and through Hong Kong," the carrier said.

"We have been increasing our flights accordingly and by the end of the month, we were operating up to three return flights per day to Shanghai and 11 return flights per week to Beijing," the carrier said. 

Other airlines are also mapping out new routes or adding frequencies. 

Xiamen Airlines operated one flight per day between Xiamen and Ho Chi Minh from Tuesday and also increase the frequencies on more routes. It will operate six intercontinental flights, including 12 routes to Southeast Asia in February. 

Juneyao Airlines now has more than 110 international and regional flights on average every week with destinations of Helsinki, Finland and Tokyo. It expects to fly 22 international and regional routes in February.

Global Times