Year 2023 brings with it great hope for the Chinese travel industry as every sector looks to make the most of the long-due reopening of borders next week.
China’s aviation regulator wants passenger traffic to reach around 75 percent of pre-pandemic levels in 2023, up from 38 percent last year when the since-abandoned zero-Covid policy led to domestic lockdowns and kept the border closed, state media reported on Friday.
The Chinese airline industry should also strive to break even this year, said the regulator, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, according to broadcaster CCTV.
China’s major state-owned airlines have reported billions of dollars of losses for the first three quarters of 2022.
Fourth-quarter results have not been released yet but they are also expected to be poor, according to analysts, as the dismantling of the zero-Covid regime did not occur until the end of the quarter.
The outlook for 2023 is brighter, with Chinese airlines expected to be the early winners from its January 8 international opening, because they kept most employees and widebody aircraft ready. Foreign carriers have been struggling with capacity constraints since other countries opened borders.
(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; writing by Jamie Freed; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Bradley Perrett)
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Photo credit: China's aviation regulator has said the Chinese airline industry should strive to break even this year.