(Bloomberg) -- China plans to increase the number of international flights operated by domestic and foreign airlines to 840 a week from Oct. 30 to March 25. That’s a jump of 106% from October 2021 to late March this year, but still way below pre-pandemic levels.
The announcement, made at a Civil Aviation Administration of China briefing Wednesday, follows the country’s major airlines saying earlier this month they planned to put on more international flights. While China is sticking with Covid lockdowns and mass testing, the moves signal a marginal easing of border curbs that have wiped out international travel and bruised the world’s second-biggest economy.
Officials are also discussing whether to reduce quarantine for inbound travelers to seven days, Bloomberg News reported last week.
Shares of Chinese carriers rose Wednesday, with China Southern Airlines Co. adding 1.7% as of 1:12 p.m. in Hong Kong trading, China Eastern Airlines Corp. up 2.6% and Air China Ltd. rising 1.4%.
The third quarter already saw an increase in international travel, with trips rising 73% from April-June to 537,000, CAAC official Xu Qing said. According to data provider VariFlight, flights in and out of China still languish at about 95% of pre-Covid levels.
A total of 92,970 domestic commercial passenger flights are planned in the coming five months, up 2.4% from same period a year earlier, the CAAC said.
--With assistance from Danny Lee.
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