China aspires to increase air flights between China and U.S. in 2024, introduce C919 planes to overseas airlines

2024-01-04 16:55:09Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China's civil aviation industry aims to promote a significant increase in direct flights between China and the U.S., and introduce the domestically manufactured C919 aircraft to operate in more countries, as part of new moves to further lift air travel.

The remarks were made at the yearly meeting held by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) on Thursday, which summarized the industry's performance in 2023, and mapped out tasks in 2024.

The meeting has put expanding overseas flights as one of the priorities in 2024, and forecast that China's international passenger traffic will continue to recover, and the number of flights is expected to reach 6,000 flights per week at the end of 2024, recovering to the 80 percent of pre-epidemic levels.

Further increasing direct flights between China and the U.S. is at the top of the list.

China's international flight volume in 2023 recovered to more than 4,600 flights per week comparing with less than 500 per week in the beginning of last year, up by 9.6 times.

Flights from China to Europe recovered to reach more than 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels, while the number of regular direct flights between China and the U.S. increased to 63 per week now.

Regarding Chinese made aircraft, the CAAC said it will promote the approval review of homegrown C919 aircraft for European Aviation Safety Agency, which aims to allow the aircraft operate in more countries.

In 2023, domestically built aircraft made a number of notable breakthroughs, such as the ARJ21 aircraft achieving large-scale operation and being exported to Indonesia for operation, and the model has carried more than 10 million passenger trips in 2023.

On January 1 of 2024, China Eastern Airlines welcomed its fourth C919 aircraft. The C919 completed its maiden commercial flight in May 2023. As of December 31 last year, China Eastern Airlines' C919 fleet had carried out a total of 655 commercial flights, carrying a total of nearly 82,000 passengers.

CAAC said it will further improve the tech innovation and prevent and resolve systemic risks that affect long-term development of the industry.

Chinese aviation industry is shrugging off the impact caused by the epidemic. CAAC data showed that the scale of domestic route passenger traffic in 2023 has exceeded the pre-epidemic levels, with an increase of 1.5 percent from the 2019 levels, and the fastest recovery among all types of transportation modes in China.

In 2024, China's domestic passenger transport will continue to grow steadily, and the passenger volume on domestic routes is expected to reach 630 million throughout the year, exceeding 2019 by 7.7 percentage points, CAAC said.

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