Widely watched air fares in China are returning to pre-pandemic levels as domestic tourists lead a patchy recovery in air travel, scattering crumbs of hope in a crumbling global travel industry.
While international markets like Europe are still partially blocked, the attention of the global tourism industry is riveted on China’s new travel models as it puts Covid-19 under control and lifts the brakes on them. movements.
China’s domestic market quietly overtook the once-dominant US market in size during the pandemic, but multiple coronavirus outbreaks ahead of last month’s Lunar New Year halted the rebound and could result in losses in the first quarter.
Now, with the temporary testing and quarantine restrictions lifted again, average economy seat prices during the April 3-5 Qingming Festival, or tomb sweeping holiday, have rebounded to 96% of levels of 2019, according to data from Ctrip.
Economy class air fares for travel during the Labor Day holiday in early May rose 11% from 2019 levels, according to Ctrip, operated by online travel giant Trip.com Group Ltd.
“It looks like demand has really caught up with capacity once again and the airlines are deciding that discounts are no longer needed to stimulate demand,” said Luya You, transportation analyst at BOCOM International in Hong Kong. “I think the pent-up demand that everyone was expecting is finally coming into full swing,” You said, adding that she expects yields and income to normalize by the second half.
A similar trend was also seen in the United States, where average round-trip domestic fares for May through August are up 36% from last year, but still 20% from 2019 levels.