Daily passenger flights in China rebound to 80% of pre-COVID levels

FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak are seen at Beijing Daxing International Airport in Beijing, China July 23, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Suen

BEIJING (Reuters) - The number of daily passenger flights in China has rebounded to 80% of pre-coronavirus levels, China’s aviation regulator said on Friday, as the aviation industry recovers from the plunge in travel demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On July 23, Chinese airlines operated 13,059 passenger flights, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said.

Daily passenger traffic was nearly 70% of the level seen last year, with load factors, a measure of how well airlines are filling available seats, averaging 73.57%.

The global aviation industry is closely watching capacity in China as a harbinger of demand recovery trends.

Even as China reported fresh COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country, domestic travel demand was robust, as travel restrictions eased and airfares remained cheap.

Beijing is also allowing more international flights, but requires all arrival passengers to provide negative COVID-19 test results before boarding.

Reporting by Stella Qiu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Mark Potter