- Passenger numbers:
- Cargo volume:
- Kunming: 2467 tonnes, +22.2%;
- Aircraft movements:
Chinese airports report increased traffic during Spring Festival
You may also be interested in the following articles...
Lucky Air to be China's first long haul LCC, to Europe/N America in 2016; China international up 29%
There are debates about impacts from China's "new normal" of slower growth. Yet from an aviation perspective, it so far remains evident that aviation is not as impacted – despite the typical correlation between traffic growth and GDP. Chinese traffic is heavily leisure-oriented; China's middle class is growing; thirst for international travel is expanding; visa liberalisation continues to improve and foreign countries (and their airports) are embracing of Chinese visitors. All these factors make travel easier, and the Chinese government is encouraging – sometimes by force – for its airlines to "go out".
The first four months of 2016 experienced a smaller growth rate of 29% compared with 4M2015's 40% increase, but the net addition of passengers in 2016 so far is larger than in 2015. The international market is becoming more crowded with new operators.
The latest will be Lucky Air – the Kunming-based LCC division of the HNA Group and U-FLY Alliance. Lucky intends to deploy 787-9s to Europe and North America by the end of 2016.
China-UK air service agreement permits growth as Chinese airlines constrained in most other markets
An agreement between China and the UK to more than double their air service agreement is good timing for both sides. Chinese airlines are finding an imbalance: they are taking delivery of widebody aircraft and more Chinese airlines are flying long haul but traffic rights to major markets – the US, Canada, Germany and France – are becoming depleted. Negotiations to add traffic rights have not succeeded, typically due to the foreign side being concerned about accessing Chinese slots or Russian overflight rights.
The agreement with the UK to expand the number of weekly passenger flights from each side from 40 to 100 reflects considerable pragmatism on the part of the UK: British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are not growing in China, and China is a large growth opportunity. The UK has lagged on Chinese tourism. It was only in 2015 that China became the UK's largest inbound market.