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Airlines optimistic about intl travel routes

By Luo Wangshu | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-11-25 08:40


More international flights are expected to return as travel curbs and COVID-19 prevention protocols are adjusted, China's three major airlines said.

From Oct 30 to March 25, Air China will offer 52 international routes, while China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines will each offer 42.

Air China, the country's flag carrier, will operate 132 international flights every week, resuming air routes such as Beijing-Singapore, Hangzhou-Rome and Chongqing-Dubai.

The company also plans to provide new international air routes including Beijing-Johannesburg-Chengdu, Chongqing-Budapest and Chongqing-Ho Chi Minh City.

Although COVID-19 outbreaks are still affecting the passenger market in various regions, tailored prevention measures have reduced the negative effects on travel and resulted in an increasing number of passengers adapting to travel under epidemic prevention protocols, said Huang Bin from Air China's senior management team.

As epidemic control policies continue to be optimized, more people will be willing to travel by air, and market confidence is recovering, he added.

Chen Weihua, chief legal counsel at China Southern Airlines, said more new international air routes have been added from Guangzhou to Europe and Southeast Asia. The next step is to continue to add more routes from Guangzhou to North America.

Li Yangmin, general manager of China Eastern Airlines, said the recently upgraded epidemic prevention measures are good news for the resumption of the civil aviation sector.

"The cancellation of the 'circuit breaker' mechanism will bring direct economic benefits to companies. The simpler inspection, optimized epidemic control standard and shortened quarantine time will reduce the uncertainty of travel, boosting the sector's resumption," he said.

This month, China rolled out 20 measures to upgrade epidemic control, including the cancellation of the "circuit breaker" policy — the suspension of carriers for two weeks if five or more passengers tested positive upon landing in China, or four weeks if 10 or more passengers tested positive.

Inbound travelers also go through a shorter quarantine and simpler inspection.

The measures reduce COVID-19 quarantines for incoming travelers and close contacts from 10 to eight days, and inbound travelers will be asked to provide one negative test result instead of two from nucleic acid testing conducted no more than 48 hours before boarding.

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, more international flights will be arranged during the period, with 840 inbound and outbound flights per week, more than double the same period last year.

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