Airlines Boost China International Flight Capacity as Country Reopens

International seat capacity to and from China in January increased by 9.5% over the past week as airlines ramped up flights following China’s Reopening, however flights are still far lower than they were before the outbreak, said aviation data supplier Cirium.

According to schedules data from Cirium reviewed by Reuters, Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways added over 52,000 seats as its border with the mainland opened, placing it ahead of China’s Xiamen Airlines, Juneyao Airlines, and others.

Analysts expect Chinese airlines will be the first to reap the benefits of the country’s international reopening, as they have kept most of the planes and employees ready, even as many foreign peers struggle with capacity restrictions.

Data by Cirium showed that airlines operated only 11% of pre-pandemic capacity in January. 

The week-long Lunar New Year holiday begins January 21.

In addition, Cirium data suggested that international capacity to and from China scheduled for February has increased by 23% in the last week, and by 13% in the same period the month of March.