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Chinese domestic market hits pre-COVID levels

written by Hannah Dowling | August 28, 2020

An Air China Airbus A330 at Sydney Airport, September 2018 (Source: Bidgee/Wikimedia).

Domestic air travel in China has almost returned to 100 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels, according to data released on Wednesday, a positive sign for the future of global aviation markets.

According to aviation industry analysts ForwardKeys, airline bookings within China hit 98 per cent of 2019 levels in the second week of August, while domestic arrivals stood at 86 per cent of 2019 figures.

Based on current data, the company has anticipated that China’s domestic aviation market should “fully recover” by the beginning of September, an incredible feat for an industry that has been struck harder than most by the outbreak of the virus.

“This is a highly significant moment because it is the first time since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak that a major segment of the aviation market anywhere in the world has returned to pre-pandemic levels,” Olivier Ponti, vice president of insights at ForwardKeys, said.

The country, being the origin of the COVID-19 virus, was the first to experience the extreme toll of near total lockdowns.

However in recent weeks, China has also seen a significant easing of cases coming from community transmission, with most new daily cases reported in China coming from residents returning from overseas.

The Chinese aviation market hit its rock bottom in February, around two months after the virus was first reported in the country, and has since been slowly rebuilding its businesses, helped mostly by the Chinese government’s ability to curb the spread of infections.


China’s impressive speedy recovery in its aviation market was also helped by the lowering of ticket prices, which has assisted anxious travellers to overcome their fears of boarding a plane, according to ForwardKeys.

Elsewhere in the world, international travel markets continue to flounder, as they remain crippled by travel restrictions and people nervous to travel overseas.

Meanwhile, non-Chinese domestic markets have marked an improvement, however not yet to the same scale as China. 

In the US, Airlines for America has reported that domestic travel remains down around 44 per cent of usual levels, while in Australia, ongoing state border closures have crippled the domestic aviation market.

Recent data suggests that one in 15,000 people in mainland China have been infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, compared to one in 56 people in the US.

Chinese domestic market hits pre-COVID levels Comment

  • shane


    while we suffer and I lose my job they thrive

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