Chinese airlines have indicated they would expand the number of scheduled international flights very soon, generating widespread attention.
China Eastern Airlines, one of China’s three leading airlines, announced on Monday that it would resume many international flights beginning in late October, including between Shanghai and Bangkok, Hangzhou and Tokyo, Qingdao and Seoul, and Qingdao and Dubai.
China Eastern intends to operate 108 scheduled international flights per week along 42 routes throughout the winter and spring seasons.
VariFlight, a China-based civil aviation data service provider, reported 64 international flights from 10 to 16 October. Throughout September, it conducted 234 international flights.
China Southern, another major Chinese airline, said last week that it would restart regular international flights from Guangzhou to Jakarta, Dalian to Tokyo, Guangzhou to Dubai, and Guangzhou to Manila by the end of this month.
The company intends to fly 86 international flights per week following the move, and it now has 71 international flights every week.
On 30 October, China’s civil aviation sector will begin the new winter and spring schedules.
Other carriers, such as Hainan Airlines and Xiamen Airlines, have also announced plans to increase international flights soon.
According to Li Xiaojin, a professor of aviation economics at the Civil Aviation University of China in Tianjin, international passenger flights are a significant source of revenue for airlines, particularly larger ones.
Before the pandemic, roughly 10% of air travellers were international. Still, he said they generated about 30% of the civil aviation industry’s income.
According to VariFlight data, China operated 984 international flights from 10 October to 16, accounting for nearly 5% of the weekly number of international flights in 2019. In 2019, the average weekly number of international flights was 18,750.
According to CAAC data issued in August last year, China operated 230 international passenger flights each week, accounting for around 2.15 percent of the volume observed in 2019.
Policies have been implemented to help the industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The State Council, China’s Cabinet, issued a notice in May to stimulate the economy, which included the gradual resumption of international passenger flights.
China relaxed its quarantine policy for arriving travellers in June. According to the most recent pandemic control plan, arriving travellers will be isolated for seven days to undergo medical observation at specified places, followed by three days of home health monitoring, lowering the quarantine length from 21 to 10 days.
The CAAC shortened the ban duration for international flights in August if confirmed cases were discovered onboard.
During a press conference in June, Liang Nan, director of the CAAC’s transport department, said that the government is talking with several countries about progressively boosting international passenger flights.
According to Xu Qing, deputy director of the department, at a news briefing in July, the administration is working under the coordination of the State Council’s joint prevention and control mechanism to resume flights to meet the needs of overseas students and people involved in international exchanges looking to return to their home countries.
She also stated that the endeavour considers the growing pandemic situation, optimising current preventative and pandemic control efforts and enhancing local regions’ capabilities to accommodate international flights.
Source: China Daily