Chinese civil aviation sees loss of $31 billion in 2022, data shows
Published: May 11, 2023 12:51 AM
An Air China plane taxis at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport in September 2020. Photo: cnsphoto

An Air China plane taxis at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport in September 2020. Photo: cnsphoto

China's aviation industry saw heavy losses in 2022, as official data on Wednesday revealed the impact of the epidemic.

The aviation industry saw a loss of 217.44 billion yuan ($31.44 billion) in 2022, an increase from 137.46 billion yuan the previous year, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said in a report on Wednesday.

The operating income of airlines was 336.48 billion yuan, a decrease of 20.5 percent from the previous year, and the loss was 177.12 billion yuan, an increased loss of 114.34 billion yuan from the previous year, the report said.

The depth and persistence of the impact of the epidemic on civil aviation transportation was far exceeding expectations, the CAAC said in the report.

There were sharp declines in some areas. The domestic transport volume in 2022 declined by 39.5 percent year-on-year, and the number of domestic travelers' trips also declined by 40.9 percent from the previous year.

In terms of international flights, the number lagged behind the level in 2019. There were 336 international routes in 2022, compared with 953 international routes in 2019.

However, the Chinese aviation industry has picked up since China changed its COVID response in light of the evolving situation.

In March, daily domestic flights amounted to about 11,657 on average, surging 133.52 percent year-on-year, according to a report released by VariFlight, a China-based civil aviation data service provider, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The figure represents a 3 percent increase compared with the same period in 2019.

Chinese airlines are also flocking to resume or open international routes, and China's international round-trips are also gradually recovering, narrowing the gap with pre-epidemic levels.

Travel data provider Cirium said that during this year's May Day holidays, the number of international flights to and from Shanghai was the largest ever. Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo were the most popular destinations for international routes in the May Day holidays this year.

Although compared with 2019, there is still a certain gap in the number of flights, the gap is constantly narrowing. Among them, the flights to and from Macao have returned to the level of the same period in 2019, Cirium said.

China Southern Airlines launched the Beijing Daxing-Tokyo Haneda route on Tuesday, with three flights per week, and the Guangzhou-Tokyo Haneda flight also resumed, with four flights per week. The carrier said it plans to open a route from Beijing Daxing to London from June 7, with seven flights per week.