China's Aviation Sector Aims For Profitability This Year - Regulator
China's aviation sector will aim to turn losses into profits this year with an expected recovery to 85% of its pre-COVID volume of domestic passenger trips, the aviation regulator has said.
Domestic Air Traffic Faltering
China's domestic air traffic, once the world's envy after a fast rebound during the pandemic, is faltering due to a zero-COVID policy of quickly stamping out virus clusters regardless of the economic cost.
Suspension Of Flights
A growing number of imported cases as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreads around the world have also led the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to suspends more international flights recently.
The sector has been mired in deep losses since COVID-19 struck in early 2020, with China's three biggest airlines, Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines, posting a combined loss of 32.5 billion yuan ($5.10 billion) in the first three quarters of 2021, after a 42 billion yuan loss in 2020.
The CAAC, in a work meeting for 2022, said that air passenger trips will likely exceed 570 million this year, compared with approximately 660 million in 2019 before COVID-19.
"Barring repeated fluctuations in COVID-19, we will strive to reverse losses and achieve profitability this year," the CAAC said in a statement.
Banking On Domestic Market And Heavily Curtailing International Flights
China has been banking on the domestic market to drive a recovery in its aviation sector, while heavily curtailing the number of international flights to discourage travel.
Targeting 2023-2025 For Recovery
The CAAC said that it is targeting 2023-2025 for a recovery in international air travel.