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Checking in on air traffic in China

Checking in on air traffic in China

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After slamming on the brakes for the New Year holiday, China’s air traffic recovery has resumed, with traffic from the country’s 25 busiest airports practically recovered to pre-pandemic levels and 133% above where it was at the beginning of April last year.

Total Departures from Select Airports China April 2021

Reordering in recovery

Prior February 2020, flights at China’s 25 busiest airports clustered into three distinct tiers, centered on 250, 500, and 750+ daily departures, respectively. Those tiers collapsed into a minimum service as the travel restrictions of February 2020 went into force. As the recovery began, airports with strong domestic passenger demand and large cargo operations leapt ahead. Guangzhou has been particularly resilient, evidenced by its over performance compared to Shanghai.

Departures from the 25 busiest airports in China plus Daxing April 2021

The most important unanswered question is the same as it has been for months now: what will the international passenger recovery look like? As vaccination rates rise and the summer season approaches, we’ll be monitoring for any additional relaxation in travel restrictions that have kept international flights to a minimum.

Departures from select Chinese airports, December 2019-April 2021

Airport31-Dec7-Jan14-Jan21-Jan28-Jan4-Feb11-Feb18-Feb25-Feb3-Mar10-Mar17-Mar24-Mar31-Mar7-Apr15-Apr21-Apr28-Apr5-May12-May19-May26-May2-Jun9-Jun16-Jun23-Jun30-Jun7-Jul14-Jul21-Jul28-Jul4-Aug11-Aug18-Aug25-Aug1-Sep8-Sep15-Sep22-Sep29-Sep6-Oct13-Oct20-Oct27-Oct3-Nov10-Nov17-Nov24-Nov1-Dec8-Dec15-Dec22-Dec29-Dec5-Jan12-Jan19-Jan26-Jan2-Feb9-Feb16-Feb23-Feb2-Mar9-Mar16-Mar23-Mar30-Mar6-Apr
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