Wuhan Airport Reopens After 76-Day City Lockdown

Staff at Wuhan Tianhe see off the first commercial flight to leave the airport since January.
Credit: China Eastern Airlines via Twitter

Wuhan Tianhe Airport (WUH) reopened its gates to scheduled commercial operations on April 8, marking the end of China’s 76-day lockdown of the city and the resumption of normal service to the airport.

The first outbound flight of the day was China Eastern Airlines flight MU2527, which departed WUH for Sanya (SYX) in Hainan province carrying 42 passengers. There were 225 inbound and outbound flights scheduled for April 8, reconnecting Wuhan with more than 50 cities in China—including Chongqing, Kunming, Qingdao and Shanghai—and transporting an estimated 11,000 passengers. 

Epidemic control measures are still in place at the airport. Temperature screenings stations are set up at the terminal entry, at security and at the boarding gates, and a disinfection process is taking place at least twice a day. Social distancing measures have also been implemented and the airport has increased ventilation, allowing more fresh air to be circulated into the building. 

Wuhan became the first city in the world to enter a lockdown on Jan. 23 as the coronavirus began to spread in Hubei province. During the period of lockdown numerous charter flights were mounted by state-owned carriers to ferry medical personnel and supplies to the airport, as well as repatriation flights arranged by various foreign governments.

China has been able to gain control of its outbreak, seeing a sharp decline in local cases. Most new cases have been imported, prompting the government to ban almost all foreigners from entering the country and reducing the frequencies of international flights to just once per week per airline. There were no new reported cases in the province of Hubei on April 7.

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.