South China's Hainan urges for additional flights amid skyrocketing demand as Spring Festival holidays come to end
Published: Feb 17, 2024 02:26 PM
 passengers are lining up for security check in Haikou Meilan International Airport. (Photo: Xinhua)

Passengers are lining up for security check in Haikou Meilan International Airport. (Photo: Xinhua)

In response to an unprecedented surge in traveler flow during the Chinese New Year holidays, the Civil Aviation Administration of China has approved an increase in the number of flights out of South China's Hainan Province, to accommodate the overwhelming demand for flights leaving the island.

A major travel destination in China, Hainan has witnessed a 30 percent year-over-year increase in travelers during the Spring Festival holidays, which indicates rapid recovery of domestic tourism and rising demand for air flights, with ticket prices for multiple hinterland destinations exceeding 10,000 yuan ($1,390) on booking platforms. 

In response to the surge in demand, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Hainan Airlines and Lucky Air have increased their capacity to Hainan. Measures include adding flights and deploying larger aircraft.

And, Haikou Airport announced the deployment of 10 additional wide-body aircraft flights on Wednesday, totaling 100 flights, marking a 16.3 percent increase from 2023. This adjustment was part of the island's broader strategy to enhance connectivity with major mainland cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Chongqing.

Hainan's main gateways, Sanya Phoenix International Airport and Haikou Meilan International Airport, have both reported an uptick in passenger flow and flight numbers during the holiday season. Sanya airport expected to operate 2,974 flights, serving over 630,000 passengers, while Haikou airport planned for 5,265 flights to transport approximately 910,000 passengers.

Additionally, to cope with travelers returning home after the long holidays, the city of Sanya has implemented several measures to ease transportation pressure, which includes increasing the number of trains and bus services, and adding new ferry services for travelers departing the island.

The 2024 Chinese New Year holiday period saw a tourism boom in Hainan. According to data released by the local government, on Tuesday, Hainan's 4A and above tourist attractions welcomed 553,900 visitors, marking a 43.48 percent increase from 2023 and a 17.67 percent increase from 2019.