New flight routes open for summer
 updatetime:2023-03-28 19:06:35   Views:0 Source:China Daily


An Air China plane takes off from Beijing Daxing International Airport. [Photo by Zou Hong/]

More services launched to meet pent-up desire for travel post-pandemic

Airlines have added more routes for the summer-autumn flight season that started on Sunday, aiming to shore up flight volume to surpass pre-pandemic levels, official figures showed.

Experts said that carriers operating on the mainland have seized the twice-a-year shift in flying schedules — the other being in October — to expand routes as passengers venture out of their homes with the cutting of many pandemic-related restrictions.

During the 217-day flight season that lasts till late October, a mix of 169 domestic and foreign carriers plan to schedule 117,222 passenger and cargo flights each week, up 20.8 percent from 2019, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

The increase has translated into more flights and new routes for airlines big and small in the coming months.

Air China said it has scheduled an average of 1,547 flights each day, which is 51 percent more than in 2019.

China Southern Airlines has scheduled more than 3,000 flights a day linking 216 airports at home and abroad, the company said.

China United, a budget airline, has opened 14 new air routes in addition to restoring seven ones that were canceled during the pandemic-induced travel slump.

Fan Qingsong, a strategic executive officer with budget airline China Express, said the jump in flight volume is a telltale sign of an industrywide recovery, and many carriers, including his, are laying a great deal of emphasis on this change of season by arranging more services.

"The summer-autumn season is crucial for airlines in terms of revenues, which can account for about 60 percent of the annual earnings," he said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency.

The CAAC said that 38 carriers have added 726 exclusive routes in the new season, with a weekly average of 6,659 flights linking cities such as Ordos in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Zhanjiang in Guangdong province and Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region with regional transportation hubs including Chongqing, Dalian in Liaoning province, and Guiyang in Guizhou province.

Han Tao, a researcher with the China Air Transport Association, told Xinhua that the additions are mainly "branch airways" featuring short-distance flights commuting between smaller cities, and that the routes help carriers tap small-town and rural markets.

Data showed that the number of overseas flights has also witnessed an upsurge.

According to the CAAC, there are 3,463 passenger and cargo flights each week to and from the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and Taiwan. These flights are operated by 36 carriers and represent a 30.8 percent increase year-on-year.

There are also an average of 14,702 international passenger and cargo flights each week.

Xie Zhinan, an official with Beijing Capital International Airport, said it is handling around 76 international passenger flights each day, or 50 percent more than the winter-spring season, in the new season, and these flights are to and from 54 airports in 41 countries on five continents.

The airport's management told state broadcaster China Central Television that there will be at least one flight daily to cities such as Frankfurt, Moscow and Sydney in the new season starting Sunday.

The restoration of international flights came ahead of a slew of Chinese public holidays in the next couple of months, such as Qingming Festival on April 5, International Workers' Day on May 1 and Dragon Boat Festival on June 22.

Xinhua has reported that the orders for outbound flights scheduled between March 26 and June 30 have seen a six-fold increase year-on-year.

Web Editor:MXJ