China's air traffic declined by half in November, keeping the industry in negative territory for the year, new official data revealed.
Data from the Civil Aviation Administration of China on Wednesday showed that in November passenger trips stood at 21.526 million, down 44.6% from October, and down 51.5% year-on-year.
Market watchers largely attributed the decline to localized flare-ups of COVID-19 cases over recent months.
Since the end of November, the impact of the pandemic has meant that many flights from airports in East China's Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces in addition to Shanghai have been cancelled. At the same time, airlines including Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines have issued announcements for a free return from Shanghai, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, a further signal of the pressure on their operations.
Localized yet persistent flare-ups of COVID-19 in parts of the country have led much of the public to think twice before booking a flight.
Beijing authorities announced in November that the city would cut inbound flights from provincial-level regions classified either middle- or high-risk COVID-19 areas as part of the Chinese capital's latest, and to date strictest, pandemic prevention measures ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Flights to the capital from middle- or high-risk COVID-19 areas will be limited to one per day at less than 75% seating capacity.
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