After being devastated by COVID-19 in early 2020, China’s aviation market fell from being the world’s 3rd largest market to the 25th largest. However, due to steep discounts on domestic flights within China and greater control over COVID-19, by late summer China bounced back very fast as compared to other regions
China’s “big three” airlines showed a significant increase in passenger traffic, and in some cases, surpassed domestic traffic rates that pre-date the onset of COVID-19.
In August, China Eastern carried 8.5 million passengers, which was an increase of 18% compared to July and +2.5% higher than January 2020. Domestically, the airline posted Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK) of +16.4% month-over-month and -15% year-over-year. Regarding Available Seat Kilometers (ASK), which captures the total flight passenger capacity of an airline in kilometers, China Easter showed an increase of +15% month-over-month, but -0.8% year-over-year. Led by a collapse in international travel demand, overall China Eastern carried 8.55 million passengers across its network which translates into a decrease of -28% year-over-year.
During the month of August, China Southern Airlines carried 10.3 million domestic passengers, an increase of 14% month-over-month and +8% over the domestic passengers carried in January of 2020. Domestic RPK came in at +14% month-over-month but stood at -21% year-over-year. Domestic ASK also posted positive results with +13% month-over-month. Year-over-year ASK was -7.3%. By contrast, international traffic remained low at only 73,500 passengers.
Air China carried 7.27 million domestic passengers in August, which was an increase of +25% month-over-month and marginally lower by about 0.9% compared to January’s previous high of 7.33 million. The airline posted a domestic RPK of +26% month-over-month and -17% year-over-year. Domestic ASK increased by +23% month-over-month and was -3.4% year-over-year.
The recovery of air travel within China demonstrates the large power of its home market. As the situation evolves around the world, we will keep our fingers on the pulse of aviation markets everywhere. Be sure to check back with Airside often for the latest market trends and updates.
Source: Article “China’s ‘Big Three’ close in on full domestic traffic recovery” on www.Flightglobal.com
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