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China’s Jan air passenger numbers jump 34.8% after COVID curbs ease

FILE PHOTO: Travellers walk with luggages at a terminal hall, during the annual Spring Festival travel rush ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing, C

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s January air passenger traffic rose 34.8% from a year earlier, the aviation regulator said at a regular news conference on Thursday, after the country abandoned its strict zero-COVID policy.

China has also resumed scheduled passenger flights with 58 countries since its border reopening on Jan. 8, state media CCTV quoted the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) as saying.

Last week, 98 domestic and foreign airlines operated a total of 795 international flights, up 65% from the week before China abandoned quarantine for arrivals, CCTV reported.

China was the world’s largest outbound tourism market before COVID-19 shut down global travel, with its overseas visitors spending $255 billion in 2019.

Chinese people, cut off from the rest of the world for three years by stringent curbs, flocked to travel and online booking sites ahead of borders reopening.

Air passenger numbers during the Lunar New Year travel period from Jan. 7 to Feb. 15 rose 39% from last year’s holiday travel, CAAC said.

A CAAC official said air transportation recovered rapidly in January, with strong demand between cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and the popular holiday destination of Sanya on Hainan Island during the Lunar New Year period.



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