The China Southern Airlines app crippled on Wednesday amidst the panic buying of one of its ticket discount offers branded as "Happy Flight."
As a large number of passengers logged in to book tickets through "Happy Flight," the China Southern Airlines app crashed due to heavy traffic.
"Happy Flight" is the latest in a series of similar schemes launched by nine major Chinese carriers, highlighting people's irresistible desire to travel as the COVID-19 situation gradually eases in China.
As lockdown restrictions are being strategically relaxed in China, several airlines are offering special deals to attract passengers, especially business travelers back into the skies. Experts believe that discount packages could heat up market confidence.
Shanghai Hongqiao Airport has handled about 87,000 passengers a day since the start of July, about 80 percent of its previous average passenger load.
China Southern Airlines' discount package also allows passengers to use passes for as many flights as they wish for destinations across China from August 26, 2020 to January 6, 2021 for 3,699 yuan.
Zhao pointed out that selling flight passes should be a promotion solution more about boosting market confidence than retrieving the revenue loss.
"Selling flight passes can generate revenue. Inflow is much better than nothing. But recovery of airline businesses depends on how the overall travel market recovers. And selling flight passes to consumers is more about boosting market confidence than about revenue generation," Zhao said.
New research from travel data company Cirium shows almost 64 million seats are scheduled within the China market for July, a capacity fall of only five percent compared to the same month last year. But how long before normal air fares and normal booking schedules resume? No one's talking about that yet.
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