Air travel within China almost returns to “pre-pandemic levels”


Domestic air travel in China has nearly fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released Wednesday by ForwardKeys, which predicted the Chinese aviation market would fully recover by the start of September.

In the second week of August, domestic arrivals at Chinese airports reached 86 percent of last year’s levels, while flight bookings hit 98 percent, said global travel data firm ForwardKeys.

“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 in a statement.

The company said its forecast of a full recovery is based on four factors: China’s success at curbing the pandemic, domestic aviation seat capacity set to increase by 5.7 percent in the last week of August, the start of the school year, and aggressive price promotions.

The Chinese aviation market bottomed in the second week of February and has climbed slowly since then.

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