As domestic flights in China are set to surge 34% higher than pre-pandemic levels, the global tourism sector eagerly awaits the revival of international flight capacity in the country.
China’s aviation regulator said it will increase domestic flights to 34% above pre-pandemic levels, a move that will further boost the recovery of Chinese airlines.
China’s top airlines reported their first quarterly profits in more than three years on Friday, fanning industry hopes for China’s big three state carriers to finally step out of the difficulties brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China will roll out its winter and spring season flight plan on Sunday, which will last until March 30, according to the summary of a Friday press conference on the website of CAAC News, which is run by the aviation regulator.
There will be 96,651 domestic flights a week, or 34% higher than the same period four years ago, with 7,202 new weekly flights brought on by the opening of 516 new domestic routes.
The increase in domestic flights focuses on connections between regional and hub airports like Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, the regulator said.
International flights, while slower to recover, are also picking up steam. In the next five months there will be 16,680 weekly flights, with passenger flights expected to reach 71% of the total four years ago.
Flights to and from 22 countries, including Britain and Italy, have neared or overtaken pre-pandemic levels, the regulator said.
In the winter and spring season, weekly direct passenger flights between China and the United States are expected to increase to 70 from 48, according to a post on Sunday on the CAAC News WeChat account.
(Reporting by Eduardo Baptista; Editing by William Mallard)
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