It was hoped that the Chinese New Year celebrations would have been the occasion for a rebound in Chinese air transport. ForwardKeys' analysis shows that this was unfortunately not the case.
Air traffic still 62% lower
Despite an apparent health situation under control, Chinese air transport did not experience the rebound in traffic expected for the Chinese New Year celebrations that took place during the week of February 11 to 17, 2021. This is underlined by the latest ForwardKeys study based on the data of issued airline tickets. Traditionally generating strong air and rail traffic, these celebrations, which are an opportunity for families to reunite, take place over a period of time known as the "Golden New Year Week". However, the ForwardKeys study shows that air traffic volumes remained 62% lower than in the same period in 2019. The only consolation: this is a slight improvement, since the decline during the 2020 "Golden Week" was 69%.
While Beijing and Shanghai continue to suffer, both penalized by almost non-existent international traffic and repeated Covid-19 mini-alerts, some destinations are showing a certain dynamism. Chengdu and Chongqing, notably culinary destinations, are managing to limit the damage with traffic volumes "only" 61% and 64% lower, respectively. Shenzhen, which is a shopping destination for the Chinese, is at minus 60% compared to 2019. Finally, Hainan confirmed its position as a preferred "leisure" destination with traffic volumes down only 34% from 2019.
A note of hope
While the rebound in Chinese air traffic is not as expected, ForwardKeys nevertheless underlines that the situation was even "worse off" since bookings were in free fall (-85% compared to 2019) and that the announcement by several regional governments of a relaxation of health constraints created a very strong dynamic of "last minute" bookings. For example, the decision by the Hainan Island government not to require travelers from regions of China with low levels of the virus to undergo prior PCR testing resulted in an "explosion in bookings" with a volume exceeding that recorded over the same period in 2019.
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