Civil aviation bounces back from pandemic

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China's civil aviation industry rebounded significantly last year, showcasing steady growth across key metrics compared to the previous year, when the COVID-19 pandemic was coming to an end, according to a report released on Friday by the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

The report detailed progress in 12 key areas, including air transport, general aviation, efficiency, economic benefits, safety, service quality, education and technological innovation.

Passenger travel surged in 2023, with the industry handling close to 620 million passenger trips, up 146.1 percent year-on-year and approaching the nearly 660 million seen in 2019, before the pandemic.

Domestic routes comprised the bulk of passenger traffic last year, accounting for approximately 591 million trips, a 136.3 percent increase from 2022. Travel to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan accounted for 6.68 million passenger trips in 2023 — up 1,324.7 percent year-on-year.

International passenger trips totaled 29.05 million last year, up 1,461.7 percent year-on-year.

By the end of last year, the civil aviation industry boasted a fleet of 4,270 registered public transport aircraft, marking an increase of 105 from 2022. The industry also saw an expansion of its scheduled flight routes, operating 5,206 in total — 4,583 domestic and 623 international.

Five new airports opened on the Chinese mainland last year, taking the total to 259, with 38 each handling more than 10 million passenger trips in 2023.

Airports in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou collectively accounted for 20 percent of the total passenger throughput for all airports on the mainland and also handled 60.8 percent of international passenger traffic.

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