China’s domestic traffic is now just 33 per cent lower than pre-outbreak levels, according to new data from consultancy and analytics agency Cirium.
At its lowest point, the country’s domestic traffic had sunk to be 71 per cent lower than expected year-on-year figures.
The findings are likely to be seized upon by the rest of the world’s aviation sector, as it battles through the middle of the pandemic.
Growth in the APAC market shows signs of promise, with “intra-Asia capacity” climbing by 10 per cent between 14 April and 22 April.
However, Cirium reports that Chinese passenger flights as a whole (including international) is still lower than expected.
Total daily tracked flight cycles and flight hours for Chinese-operated passenger jets remain down nearly 60% compared with a year earlier. Read more here – https://t.co/K88HXLyIyH pic.twitter.com/CkEZXZUOeY
— Cirium (@cirium) April 24, 2020
Major Chinese cities have eased lockdowns and gradually reopened businesses as of late March.
This – coupled with the beginning of the Chinese spring travel season – means that many airlines are expecting to see demand for domestic routes buttressed even further.
Chinese domestic airlines have slashed ticket prices and introduced social distancing policies to further encourage domestic travel.
Spring Airlines, a low-cost carrier based out of Shanghai, is charging travellers an additional fee of 100 yuan (US$14) to keep neighbouring seats vacant.