In March 2022, passenger traffic on China’s Big Three airlines – Air China, China Southern Airlines (ZNH), and China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA) – decreased significantly both domestically and internationally.
The airline with the worst performance was Air China. In March 2022, China’s flag carrier carried only 2 million passengers, a 71 percent decrease from the previous year.
China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA), situated in Shanghai, fared slightly better in comparison. During the month, the airline carried a total of 2.5 million passengers, a 70% decline from the previous year.
In March 2022, China Southern Airlines (ZNH), China’s largest airline by fleet size, flew a total of 4 million passengers, a 64 percent decrease from the previous year.
Since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020, China’s Big Three airlines have had the lowest passenger counts. The quick spread of the Omicron strain and strict quarantine measures across the country was blamed for the sharp drop in passenger traffic.
As a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, China is regarded one of the strictest countries in the world in terms of quarantine and travel restrictions. Millions of individuals in China have been put on lockdown as part of the country’s rigorous Zero-COVID policy.
In contrast to China, numerous Asia-Pacific countries have lifted travel restrictions and will open their borders to fully vaccinated passengers in February and March 2022. Passenger numbers have risen dramatically as travel restrictions have been loosened.