Air Travel Within China Almost Returns to 'Pre-Pandemic Levels'

Domestic arrivals at Chinese airports reached 86 percent of last year's levels in the second week of August.

Domestic air travel in China has nearly fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released by a leading travel analytics company, which predicted the Asian giant's aviation market would fully recover by the beginning of September.

In the second week of August, domestic arrivals at Chinese airports reached 86 percent of last year's levels, while flight bookings hit 98 percent, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday citing the company, ForwardKeys as saying.

Full Recovery Forecast

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"This is a highly significant moment because it is the first time since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak that a major segment of the aviation market anywhere in the world has returned to pre-pandemic levels," Olivier Ponti, vice president of insights at ForwardKeys, said in a statement.

The company said its forecast of a full recovery is based on four factors: China's success at curbing the pandemic, domestic aviation seat capacity set to increase by 5.7 percent in the last week of August, the start of the school year, and aggressive price promotions.

Aviation Industry's Gradual Climb

The Chinese aviation market bottomed in the second week of February and has climbed slowly since then. The coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei province, last December. Since then, the virus has spread across the world and has so far infected a total of 24,646,610 people and killed 835,730 others globally.