Just lifting the stringent Covid-19 restrictions in China did not revive its economy as expected. The lockdowns ended in December 2022 and visas were issued in March 2023 again, but the recovery had been lackluster. The aviation industry belongs to those with the most disappointing predictions by June. 22, 2023, as it expects to be back to normal by the end of 2024, hoping for an extension of government support, reports the South China Morning Post.

The South China Morning Post:

China’s civil aviation industry is still running at a loss, having been one of the hardest hit during the coronavirus pandemic, and is calling for government support as the ghosts of Beijing’s zero-Covid policy over the past three years continue to haunt the world’s second-largest economy.

The struggles of the state-controlled industry, despite being among the first to recover from the pandemic, are in stark contrast with the rapid rebound seen in other services sectors and serve to reinforce market worries of an uneven recovery for an economy that is losing steam.

Unlike their foreign peers, Chinese airlines are faced with complicated domestic and external challenges, including the growing competition from the country’s massive high-speed rail network and the increasingly complicated geopolitical climate, industry leaders said at a seminar hosted by the China Air Transport Association (CATA) last week.

“The number of flights on the China-US route will be hard-pressed to achieve significant growth by the end of the year,” said an article published by the CATA on Monday.

“The prospects for Japan and [South] Korea routes are not optimistic, due to geopolitical factors in the next few years.”

The association pointed out that unfavourable factors have hindered the recovery process of international routes, which are some of the most profitable business segments, citing geopolitical tensions, trade frictions, insufficient key resources at overseas airports and visa processing.

The waiting time for visa applications can stretch into months, and the number of outbound flights in May recovered to less than one-third of the level in the same period in 2019, the association said…

Like many struggling Chinese industries, the association suggested that the supportive policies implemented in previous years should be extended until the end of 2024.

More in the South China Morning Post.

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