Chinese airlines left at the gate as international travel takes off

State-owned carriers grapple with headwinds including lingering Covid rules and limits on tourist visas

Feb 27, 2023

Flights in and out of mainland China remain limited, with international passenger traffic on the country’s three main airlines just 10% of pre-pandemic levels.

Key takeaways

  • Flights in and out of mainland China are limited, airfares remain elevated and Beijing has been reluctant to grant new tourist visas to foreigners;
  • While North America and Europe are expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels of travel this year, China will only return to pre-Covid levels in 2025, with short-haul recovery outpacing long-haul;
  • Industry experts still expect pent-up demand from Chinese travelers to cause a surge this year, with total air traffic in 2023 reaching 75% of pre-pandemic levels.

Get the full story at the Financial Times

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