Chinese air travel picks up momentum

teddy bear china

China’s biggest airlines could provide some much-needed encouragement for an aviation industry starved of good news when they report earnings later this week, Bloomberg has reported. While the coronavirus will still likely saddle Air China Ltd, China Eastern Airlines Corp. and China Southern Airlines Co. with losses for the latest quarter, financial statements from the so-called Big 3 may point to a nascent recovery in in air travel thanks to demand in their vast domestic market.

July traffic figures were promising, with passenger numbers for the three airlines rising about 25% from June as travel within China picked up, said the Bloomberg report. The trio flew a total of 22 million passengers domestically last month, more than 500 times as many flown at all by Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., which has no home market to fall back on.

Travel analytics company ForwardKeys predicts air travel in China will fully recover by next month, the Bloomberg report. Ticket bookings in the second week of August reached 98% of last year’s levels, it said, adding that the country’s aviation market bottomed in February and has climbed slowly ever since.

Popular Chinese destinations include Jiuzhaigou, famous for its colorful lakes, and Yangshuo and cities such as Chengdu, Shanghai and Beijing, the Bloomberg report said. Some places are receiving almost three times the number of visitors than last quarter, HSBC Holdings Plc analysts led by Parash Jain wrote in a note dated August 17, citing data.