132 international air routes launched in China in Q2, 60% in lower tier cities
CAAC approved 132 new international routes operated by local and international carriers, and around 60% of the routes connect with lower tier cities in the country.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) approved 132 international air routes from April to June this year. A tally shows that 60% of these new routes operated up by either China’s or international airline companies connect with second- and third-tier cities of the country.
International carriers established 67 new air routes in Q2, of which 15 routes or 22.4% of them are between China and Russia, while 9 routes are between China and Thailand, accounting for 14%.
Sixteen airline companies in China launched 59 routes for passenger service and 6 routes for freight service in Q2. The routes connect China with 13 countries, and 60% of those routes are linked to Japan and South Korea.
As the capacity for flight operation is becoming saturated in China’s first-tier cities, the potential of the country’s second- and third-tier cities has become more apparent. Facilitated by increasingly popular online travel booking in the lower-tier cities, the growth of outbound visitor traffic from these cities exceeded the first-tier cities during the Spring Festival holidays this year.
While Chinese carriers are launching more international routes to capture the country’s rising demand for outbound travel, analysts are concerned that the rapid growth in flight capacity is driving down revenues of short-haul international services such as those to Japan and South Korea, and that the market needs to consider if China’s international flight capacity has been growing too fast for market demand. (Translated by Jerry)