The travel demand experienced during the Labor day holidays is a rebound for Chinese airlines which recorded low numbers during the Lunar New Year Holiday, which is usually a peak season, in February 2021.
China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA), together with its subsidiaries Shanghai Airlines and China United Airlines plan to operate a combined total of 16,000 flights during the Labour Day Holidays, which began on May 1 will run until May 5, 2021.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has estimated that China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA) daily flight operations will have reached 2,700 flights per day during the Labour Day holidays, surpassing the pre-pandemic count of 2,650 daily flights recorded on May 1, 2019.
In addition, the CAAC has estimated that China United Airlines alone has sold over 200,000 tickets, significantly overtaking its ticket sales during the same period in 2019.
The rise in domestic travel is fuelling the recovery of the aviation market in China which still keeps stringent restrictions despite low COVID-19 infection levels. In the first months of 2021, all major Chinese airlines were still recording losses. China Eastern has carried 17 million passengers and recorded a first quarter loss of RMB 3.8 billion ($587 million) as compared to RMB 3.93 billion ($587 million) in 2020. China Southern Airlines (ZNH) recorded a first quarter loss of RMB 4 billion ($617 million), as compared to RMB 5.62 billion in 2020 during the same period. Air China suffered a greater first quarter loss of RMB 6.2 billion ($957 million) against the loss of RMB 4.8 billion in 2020.