After Peak Season Setback, Chinese Airlines Resume Growth

China’s domestic market was the first to be hit hard by COVID-19 in 2020 and was also the first to rebound.

Although Chinese airlines have reported huge losses for 2020, they are still in a stronger position than most others in Asia, thanks to a massive domestic market that has regained its recovery momentum in the past few months.


Capacity and demand built steadily through last year, until a new wave of infections in early 2021 caused a sharp drop that affected the peak spring holiday season. 

Passenger numbers for the Lunar New Year “golden week” period of Feb. 11-17 were down 45% compared with 2020 and down 72% versus golden week in 2019. Flight numbers were down 52% compared with 2020 and 58% versus 2019.

But capacity has resumed its upward climb since then and is now back above pre-pandemic levels.