Chinese travelers are leading the airline travel recovery, with 96% intending to travel, according to a new survey by Cirium, the aviation analytics company. 81% of respondents say they plan to fly at least once within the next 12 months and 50% plan to fly by this autumn. Of those planning to travel, 73% stated it was for leisure with only 24% planning business travel.
The pent-up demand is also reflected in China’s passenger traffic, which is showing signs of a strong recovery. As of September 2021, China traffic was at 87% of 2019 levels — way ahead the rest of Asia (42%).
The survey revealed that two thirds (66%) of Chinese travelers have taken a domestic flight since the start of the pandemic. Cirium schedules data reveal domestic travel in Q4 is primed to outpace pre-pandemic levels, growing by some 15% compared to Q4 2019.
Following months of restrictions aligned to China’s Zero-COVID policy, pent-up demand for a major return to international and regional travel is palpable.
More than half (61%) of respondents shared that they are ready to travel out of mainland China once borders are open, with Southeast Asia as the region of choice, followed by Europe, Australia/New Zealand and East Asia.
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