Top international travel destinations for China’s Labor Day Holiday
By Pang Yee Huat, Solutions Engineer at Cirium
With China easing out of COVID-19 restrictions and Chinese travelers eager to go globe trotting again, airlines are cautiously increasing international capacity to China.
During the last three years, China’s domestic capacity thrived as travelers and airlines looked inwards for travel due to restrictions imposed on international travel during the pandemic.
The strong performance of China’s domestic aviation looks set to continue on an upward trend, with airline schedules for the rest of 2023 (April to December) trending at 17% above 2019 levels.
It is however, a different story with international flights. While airlines are progressively making plans to resume international flights, China’s international capacity still has some progress to make with capacity trailing behind 2019 levels by -57%.
With the upcoming Labor Day Holiday, we can expect to see a huge demand for domestic travel, as seen in previous years. But how is China’s international capacity performing during this period?
China’s international air capacity for May 2023 (by continent) reveals varying levels of recovery with most falling far behind 2019 levels. The only exception is the Africa continent, with a 2.4% increase from May 2019. This increase is powered by China Southern Airlines and Sichuan Airlines with the expansion of flights into Kenya and Egypt respectively from various points in China as well as Air Tanzania adding services between Tanzania and Guangzhou.
China’s International Markets by Continent in May 2023*
Looking at international markets, China’s top ten destinations have seen several changes due to the notable absence of the United States and Russia, ranked 6th and 10th in May 2019. New destinations in the top 10 are Macau and United Arab Emirates — markets that have exhibited a faster speed of recovery to pre-pandemic levels. However, this ranking is expected to be dynamic as various airlines have announced plans to resume flights to China.
China’s International Markets by Country/Region in May 2023*
China’s robust domestic market and ongoing aviation recovery suggest that its international market will likely experience a capacity increase in the coming months. As the speed of recovery remains uncertain, it will be crucial to continue observing as further adjustments are being made to border and COVID-requirements in China, and around the world.
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