Intl flights continue to resume

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Staff members of Schiphol Airport present tulip-themed souvenirs to passengers boarding a China Southern Airlines direct flight to Beijing at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, March 26, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

International flights to and from China have been resuming since the country optimized its COVID-19 management measures, an official said on Tuesday.

A total of 58 countries have resumed international flights to and from China, about 80 percent of those offering such services before the epidemic, Liang Nan, director of the transport department of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said at a news conference in Beijing.

Last week, there were 4,042 international flights in the nation, more than four times the volume seen from Jan 2 to Jan 8, a week before the new management policy, she said.

Liang also noted that the figure was about 26 percent of the number of flights made before the epidemic.

Since the administration began preparing flight schedules for the new aviation season on March 26, both foreign and domestic airlines have greatly increased the number of international flight offerings, she said.

During the season, which will run through Oct 28, a total of 28 Chinese and 88 international airlines are planning to operate 10,580 inbound and outbound passenger flights per week. Those flights will serve 123 cities in 62 countries, she added.

"Practically, however, it usually takes time for airlines to organize staff, coordinate resources and organize ticket sales. Intercontinental long-distance routes, in particular, may take longer to be implemented," she said.

In total, 169 domestic and foreign airlines plan to arrange 117,222 passenger and cargo flights per week during the new season. This is a marked increase over the planned number of all international flights compared with last year, according to the administration.

Air China, the national flag carrier, plans to operate 101 international flights every day during the season. Among them, it is planning to open service between Beijing, Xi'an and Astana, Kazakhstan, and it will increase the number of international flights on current routes.

Air China will also gradually resume routes including Beijing-Rome, Beijing-Osaka, Beijing-Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai-Milan, Shanghai-Osaka, Chengdu-London Heathrow, Chengdu-Phuket, Chengdu-Seoul and Hangzhou-Phuket.

With the 133rd China Import and Export Fair — also known as the Canton Fair — scheduled to be held in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, from April 15 to May 5, Liang said the administration will make efforts to provide smooth flight transportation to business people to attend the event.

The administration will examine and approve airlines' applications to add more regular flights, charter flights and business jets in a timely manner, and it will promote coordination and resolve flight approval and security issues that airlines may encounter overseas, she said.

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