Members of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) have expressed that domestic carriers are looking to increase the number of international flights, with the hope that the government will provide additional support to further the sector’s recovery. While the airline industry is making progress towards recovery, the impacts of COVID-19 still linger, and many airlines are facing the pressures of debt repayments. Juneyao Airlines President Wang Junjin has emphasized the need for more favorable policies to help resume international flights. He suggested that the government strengthen bilateral air transport agreements, which could increase the number of carriers and flights, and encourage more domestic carriers to launch international flights. Wang also proposed that the government relax visa issuances to foreign citizens and expand the list of countries where Chinese citizens can visit visa-free or upon arrival for short-term travel.
During the recent Spring Festival holiday, Spring Airlines saw an 88% increase in the number of flights operated, achieving nearly 90% of the passenger load levels seen in 2019. Since China resumed outbound group tours to 20 countries on February 6, Spring Airlines has designed nearly 1,000 different products, and sales have been booming. By the end of March, the airline is expected to operate 82 weekly flights from nine Chinese cities to Thailand, while in 2019, the number stood at 162 weekly flights departing from 19 Chinese cities.
President of Spring Airlines Wang Yu believes that the air travel sector’s recovery potential is robust due to the growing demand from Chinese travelers. He believes that China’s significant population and middle-income group guarantee further market recovery. However, the sector’s recovery still depends on pandemic management development and the capacity of international flights. As a member of the 14th National Committee of the CPPCC, Wang has proposed that domestic airlines add real-name verifications of passengers’ mobile phone numbers during the online flight ticket booking process and flight changes and cancellations to guarantee public security. He has also suggested that carriers improve the working environment of ground employees at airports and reserve rest areas for staff members on tarmacs, especially at remote locations.
Tianjin Airlines announced that it would resume flights connecting Tianjin and Zhengzhou in Henan province with Sydney, becoming the first intercontinental regular route the airline resumed starting March 24.