Passenger trips in China over the coming Spring Festival holidays are expected to jump 99.5% compared with last year’s holidays, after Beijing’s abrupt reversal of its zero-Covid strategy last month removed most of the country’s travel restrictions.
The travel rush over the Spring Festival period, which runs from Jan. 7 to Feb. 15 this year, is expected to see around 2.1 billion trips, which would be 70.3% of the number seen in 2019, Xu Chengguang, deputy head of the Ministry of Transportation, said in a press conference Friday.
Visits to family and friends are expected to account for 55% of the traffic while job hunters will be about 24% and the rest equally split between tourism and business travel, according to Mr. Xu.
This year’s travel rush will coincide with a surge of Covid-19 infections, unlike in previous years, so China will experience a surge in demand for freight transportation to handle necessities such as medical, energy and food supplies, Mr. Xu said. He expects that the coming travel rush would be the most challenging one in recent years.
Mr. Xu also warned of possible disruptions to logistics, due to likely widespread infections among front-line transportation workers and bad winter weather, especially in China’s small and medium-size cities and in rural areas where distribution capabilities are relatively weak.
China’s daily civil flights will reach an average of 11,000 during the travel rush, rebounding to 73% of the level seen in 2019, according to Wan Xiangdong, a senior official from the Civil Aviation Administration of China. The aviation regulator also expects China’s overall air traffic to rebound to about 75% of prepandemic levels in 2023, according to state media reports Friday.
As of Thursday, 94.9% of China’s express-delivery workers had returned to work, said Chen Kai, deputy head of the State Post Bureau. He said that an average of 370 million parcels were handled in each of the past five days, a 16.7% increase from the same period last year.
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