- China’s international airline capacity has increased steadily since the beginning of the year.
- Service to South Korea and Japan saw a significant decline in scheduled seats compared to four years earlier.
- China recently eased travel restrictions for group visits to the US, which is expected to increase further.
International airline capacity has improved nicely as China continues to open up visas for group tourism. Despite China still operating at about half its pre-pandemic capacity, international travel jumped to more than 4 million seats last month.
Capacity is expected to increase overall this year, with 400,000 to 600,000 seats scheduled in the country’s top international markets. However, US capacity grew at the slowest pace in August, with fewer than 35,000 seats scheduled from China.
over 4 million seats
According to global travel data provider OAG, China’s international airline capacity reached 4.6 million seats in August and has grown steadily every month since a low start to the year. By early 2023, international capacity is only 13% of January 2019 levels.
Although the numbers are rising, capacity is down 50% compared to before the pandemic, where the three countries reported strong growth in Chinese airline capacity. According to the OAG, in August 2019, South Korea, Japan and Thailand all had more than one million scheduled seats from China, accounting for about 35% of the country’s international capacity.
top international markets
This year’s figures show that there is room for improvement. Among China’s top international markets in August, South Korea saw the most scheduled seats at less than 600,000. Japan was second with less than 500,000 seats during the month. The result is a decline of about 42% and about 55%, respectively, compared to the same period four years ago.
Here are China’s top 10 international markets in August 2023, according to OAG.
|market||Seats (August 2023)||Seats (August 2019)||Difference|
|Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China)||480,946||815,663||-41.0%|
|United States of america||33,190||466,133||-92.9%|
|Macao (Special Administrative Region of China)||180,274||235,309||-23.4%|
Singapore has seen the biggest recovery this year, with its capacity down just 20% from the level it recorded in 2019, but the US is far behind, with only 7% of its seats at pre-pandemic levels. Four years ago the market was booming, with about five lakh seats scheduled, while this year less than 35,000 seats are scheduled.
More growth expected, but exactly how much?
Although recovery has been slow, there is hope for change, with China recently announcing that travel restrictions on group travel from the country to the US will be eased. On August 10, China added 78 destinations to its approved list where travel agents are allowed to sell group tours and package tours, reportedly welcome news for US cities that have previously seen large numbers of Chinese travelers. Went.
While tourism has a positive impact on the US economy, according to the OAG, the gap between capacity and spending levels between China and the US has been a challenge for some destinations in recent years.
“Despite only accounting for 4% of all foreign travelers who arrived in the US in 2019, Chinese travelers spent 13% and it is this feature that has made recent years so challenging for many destinations where not only tourism is There has been an impact, but the revenue has also been affected with a disproportionate impact.”
In the post-pandemic environment, the purchasing power among outbound tourists is unknown. Although China is undoubtedly undergoing a recovery due to travel being restricted for so long, travel data analysts are not sure whether all markets will see a full recovery.