Passengers board a flight at Beijing Daxing International Airport on Thursday. The airport is expecting 615,000 passenger trips during the May Day holiday. (TAO RAN/FOR CHINA DAILY)
The Ministry of Transport has cautioned that traffic on China's expressway network will hit a record on Saturday as travelers set off on the first day of the five-day May Day holiday.
The holiday will be the second long break since China downgraded its prevention and control measures for COVID-19 in January, and following Spring Festival, which fell at the end of January.
A combination of factors including timing, weather and the first real chance for Chinese travelers to get away since Spring Festival, will contribute to the expected congestion on the roads, according to Gu Zhifeng, deputy head of the highway bureau of the Ministry of Transport.
During the holiday, it is estimated that the average daily traffic flow on China's expressway network will reach from 53.3 million to 54.3 million vehicle trips, a year-on-year increase of from 73 to 77 percent.
The ministry said it is in the process of improving highway services such as adding more parking spaces and charging stations for electric cars.
Data from the first quarter of this year has shown that the number of vehicles on the road continues to increase, said Su Jie, deputy director of the ministry's integrated planning department.
"There are more cars and an increasing number of movements of people and freight, showing the country's strong vitality," Su said.
"It is a good start to the year in terms of the volume of freight, public travel, production at ports and transportation investment," he said.
From January to March, 11.8 billion metric tons of cargo were transported, a year-on-year increase of 5 percent. Among them, railways, highways and waterways handled 1.26 billion tons, 8.57 billion tons and 2.04 billion tons, a year-on-year increase of 3.2, 5.2 and 5.4 percent, respectively.
At the same time, the civil aviation sector handled 1.49 million tons of freight, and a total of 26.9 billion parcels were delivered, up 11 percent year-on-year.
Public travel also recovered significantly in Q1, Su said.