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A China Eastern A330. China’s government is easing restrictions on foreign carriers flying into the country. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fabian Behr)

Chinese Aviation Industry Sees Speedy Recovery

The aviation industry in China is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. China Southern Airlines, the largest airline in the country is planning to take delivery of nine A321neo and two A319neo jets from Airbus. It is believed that the new aircraft could replace 24 Boeing 737 MAX in its fleet that were grounded in March 2019.

According to the South China Morning Post, the airline is going to raise $2.37 billion for the aircraft, components, maintenance, with the airline forecasting that new flights can make $2.8 billion in annual revenue.

In China, the situation is very different at the moment as the airlines in the country are seeing a speedy recovery after the Covid-19 crisis. According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), over 13.26 million passengers traveled by plane during the national holidays, from Oct. 1 to Oct. 8. the figure showed that it has reached 91 percent recovery compared to the same time last year with an average 79% load factor.

China Southern Airlines has added four domestic routes in September as the passenger capacity has increased by 6 percent compared to the same time last year. However, international travel demand remained weak due to travel restrictions. China Southern Airlines has dropped nearly 90 percent of its international schedule compared to the same time last year.

Citizens were enticed to return to the skies as the coronavirus curve in China was flattened. China Southern Airlines has rolled out a domestic “unlimited airpass” to frequent travelers. Passengers who purchase one roundtrip air ticket may eligible to have unlimited travel to the same destination for $7.5 each time afterward until January.

Meanwhile, Air China has announced that it carried 7.8 million passengers in September, a 16 percent year on year drop, but increased by nearly seven percent compared to last month. As a result of a surge in demand, the airline announced that some domestic frequencies will be added and it will expand its domestic route map in October, from focus points such as Beijing to Guiyang and add a new route from Chengdu to Bo’ao.

Also, China Eastern Airlines has revealed that it handled over 2.8 million travelers and recorded 23,386 travel movement during the national holidays according to the CAAC.

There is another positive sign in China’s aviation industry. Earlier, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, China Southern Airline’s southern hub in the country, has begun its expansion. Guangzhou is the gateway to Southern China. According to the airport, the expansion scheme includes the fourth and fifth runway, a new terminal, remodeling the facilities in terminal two, and optimizing the public transportation system such as subway, highway, high-speed railway. The airport could handle 120 million passengers annually after the expansion and the scheme costs $8.1 billion.

Baiyun International Airport revealed that it had handled 1.3 million passengers during the national holidays. It almost returned to the pre-Covid-19 levels.

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