Outbound international passenger flights surge, as China relaxes travel restrictions

Shanghai Pudong International Airport

Outbound international passenger flights from China are likely to grow by more than 200 percent month-on-month in August, industry data showed on Monday, as China continued to relax travel restrictions.

Flights to the US in particular are predicted to soar four times, the data showed.

A total of 2,845 outbound international flights are scheduled to operate in August, up from 904 in July, information provider VariFlight said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Monday. South Korea, Japan, the US, Thailand and France will be the top five destinations.

Flights from China to the US will total 188 this month, up from 34 in July, the statement said, with Shanghai Pudong, Beijing Daxing and Xiamen international airports to process the the most flights.

Outbound flights are recovering in an orderly manner after more than two years’ near freeze, as many domestic airlines have now accelerated the resumption of international flight services.

A few days ago, Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines released its August flight schedule, with flights bound for Europe showing a jump from July. Major departure cities include Wuhan and Shenzhen. In July, there were only routes flying from Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province.

China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Airlines said in June that they would fly 22 international routes per week in July, including from Shanghai to New York.

The gradual recovery of international routes shows that as the COVID19 outbreak is being curbed, demand in civil aviation market sees a rapid rebound, which also brings more inbound flights from other countries.

Willie Walsh, the director general of the International Air Transport Association, said that two years of border restrictions have not weakened the desire for the freedom to travel.

Finnair said on Monday that it will operate a weekly service between Helsinki and Guangzhou, starting from September 6. The flight will be operated with an Airbus A350 aircraft, with departures from Helsinki on Tuesdays and departures from Guangzhou on Thursdays.

On Tuesday, Lufthansa resumed its direct flight between Frankfurt and Beijing on a weekly basis.

Air France said earlier that it would resume its weekly flight from Paris to Beijing from July 22.

Since July, the existing domestic flights operated by China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines have been increased from one to two per month respectively, and the total number of direct flights from Bangladesh to China has increased to eight per month, when adding flights by two operators in Bangladesh.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said in July that it will enhance communication with other countries to increase international flights during the second half of the year in consideration of the demand for international personnel exchanges, such as overseas students returning to China.

In July, China made one of its most substantial adjustments since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as its embassies and consulates in 125 countries and regions announced policies to streamline procedures for people entering China’s mainland. antigen test 12 hours before boarding a plane.

The country also halved the collective quarantine time for international arrivals to seven days from the previous 14 days, providing new impetus for the outbound travel market.

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