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China's civil aviation on long runway to recovery

By LUO WANGSHU | | Updated: 2022-06-29 21:50
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An Air China plane takes off from Beijing Daxing International Airport on Sept 25, 2019. [Photo by Zou Hong/]

China's civil aviation industry has gradually rebounded from the worst of the pandemic and is on the road to recovery, experts said.

However, challenges remain. Since late March, new outbreaks have hit regions across China, including the metropolises of Shanghai and Beijing, resulting in even stricter epidemic control that also blocked the flow of people and freight.

The two-month lockdown in Shanghai greatly affected Shanghai Pudong International Airport, one of China's most important airports in terms of passenger trips, connectivity with other cities and countries and throughput volume.

In April, the airport handled 42,600 passenger trips and saw 3,520 incoming and outgoing flights, a year-on-year drop of 98.9 and 90.67 percent respectively. In the same month, China handled 136,000 flights and 7.88 million passenger trips across the country, about 14.24 and 14.8 percent of the volume of April 2019.

"The data in April was equivalent to what it was for the industry's development level 20 years ago," said Li Xiaojin, a professor from the Civil Aviation University of China in Tianjin.

The sector's performance for the month was the lowest since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic hit China.

Earlier in March, a flight carrying 132 people crashed in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region leaving no survivors, ending the Chinese mainland's spotless flight safety record that had lasted more than 11 years.

That incident shocked the country and industry morale.

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