China is planning to operate almost 20% more domestic flights in the next five months as the government looks to support the economy and compensate for a collapse in international travel. But total flight numbers are still likely to be down on last year, according to Argus calculations.
China's civil aviation bureau and airlines have scheduled an average of 84,634 domestic passenger flights a week for the coming winter and spring season, which runs from 25 October to 27 March 2021. The figures exclude flights to and from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
The daily average of 12,090 domestic passenger flights is up by 19.8% from the year-earlier period. The number of scheduled cargo flights has also increased significantly, up by 38.8% to 2,101 a week in the same comparison.
There are another 2,984 flights a week scheduled between mainland China and Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, down by 23.2% from the 2019-20 season.
The planned increase in domestic flights is in line with the Chinese government's new ‘dual circulation' economic development model, which aims to stimulate domestic consumption amid global economic weakness and uncertainty over trade. China's domestic air travel recovered to almost 90% of year-earlier levels during the country's golden week holiday in early October.
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