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26 March 2021
China air travel rebounds to pre-pandemic levels
AirlinesTransport & tourism (general)Greater China
As China eases quarantine restrictions, there are encouraging signs that the country’s air travel industry is bouncing back to normality.
According to Trip.com, the online travel company formerly known as Ctrip, average prices for economy seats during the Ching Ming Festival in early April are now 96% of their value from 2019 levels, South China Morning Post reported.
Why it matters
Important international markets like much of Europe are still in partial lockdown, so the global tourism industry will keep a close eye on developments in China, whose domestic market overtook the US in size during the pandemic.
Trip.com also revealed that economy-class airfares for trips over the Labour Day holiday in early May have risen 11% compared with 2019 levels.
Chinese carriers are scheduled to operate 20.7% more domestic flights from April to October compared with 2019, according to Flight Master, a Chinese aviation data provider.
China Eastern Airlines will overtake China Southern Airlines to operate the most domestic flights, while planned flights by Spring Airlines will soar by 62.25% from 2019 levels, Flight Master added.
However, despite the improved outlook in China, airlines still face restrictions in many other markets and the rising cost of oil is also a matter of concern.
“It seems like demand has really caught up with capacity once again and airlines are deciding discounts are no longer needed to stimulate demand. I think the pent-up demand that everyone has been expecting is finally showing up in full force” – Luya You, an analyst at Bocom International in Hong Kong.