Chinese carriers will increase their domestic capacity for the summer and autumn schedules, by mounting extra flights and unveiling new domestic routes.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) discloses that Chinese airlines will operate an average of around 93,000 domestic flights per week from 28 March to 30 October. This represents an increase of 10.7% year on year.
Of these, a large majority — at 90,500 flights — will be passenger services, representing a 10.6% increase compared to the same period in 2020. The remaining 2,300 flights are freighter operations, a 13.2% rise year on year.
The CAAC adds that 38 Chinese carriers will launch 322 new domestic routes for the period, including a significant number of flights to and from cities in China’s western regions.
The authority adds that unlike previous years, the current summer/autumn season will feature new measures implemented in light of the coronavirus outbreak. These include loosening traffic rights management policies, as well as allowing its airlines to adjust capacity and frequency at short notice according to demand.
China’s domestic air travel bottomed out in February last year, as the country was badly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Traffic began to recover gradually in the months following that, but was again hit by intermittent spikes of local cases at the end of 2020.
As for international flights, the CAAC notes that the number of flights remain at just 3% pre-pandemic levels, as border closures and travel restrictions still remain.
Chinese and foreign carriers are expected to operate around 6,600 passenger and cargo flights a week, a slight uptick year on year because of an increase in cargo operations.