China’s Passenger Travel Plunged By 51% In August Amid Covid-19 Resurgence

By Russell Flannery, Forbes Staff

An Air China aircraft flies over Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg © 2021 Bloomberg Finance LP

Passenger travel in China plunged 51.5% in August from a year earlier to 22.4 million trips amid a Covid-19 resurgence, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported today, citing the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

The number of trips was only about 36.6% of the number recorded in August 2019, the CAAC said, before data became distorted by the impact of the pandemic.

Shares in China’s three biggest airlines all fell in Hong Kong today.  Flag-carrier Air China declined by 5% in Hong Kong, Shanghai-based China Eastern declined 3%, and China Southern lost 3%. Shares in Spring Airlines, controlled by billionaire Wang Zhenghua, lost 2% in Shanghai; Shanghai International Airport shares also fell 2%.

The industry is being hurt again this month by a Covid-19 outbreak in Fujian Province, home to several of the country’s most important sportwear companies, such as Xtep and Anta Sports, and eastern China travel disruptions in connection with Typhoon Chanthu.

Goldman last month lowered its forecast of China third-quarter GDP growth to 2.3% year on year from 5.8% on concerns about Covid-19 fallout.

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