Jun 09, 2020 07:54 PM

Charts of the Day: Passengers Return En Masse to China’s Airlines and Railways

More than 1 million airline passenger trips were made in China each day from Friday to Sunday, a number that China hasn’t seen since the government instituted measures to control the coronavirus outbreak in late January.

Still, that number was only about 60% of the level in June 2019, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).


Travelers booked around 70% of aircraft capacity in May, about 10 percentage points lower than the average passenger load factor of domestic airlines’ flights before the outbreak, according to the CAAC.

The figures are a sign of hope for an industry that has been struggling to maintain cash flow after coming off an all-time low of 133,000 daily passengers in early February in the wake of a government-imposed travel ban, CAAC data show.

COTD Chart 2

China’s railway industry has found itself in a similar situation. Passengers in China made more than 150 million train trips in May as officials called for business and tourism to return to normal, according to China State Railway Group. That figure was the highest since the start of the outbreak, but only about half of the all-time high hit in May 2019.

Still, it’s way up from February, when the number of trips on China’s railways fell 87.2% year-on-year to 37.2 million.

Contact reporter Lu Yutong ( and editor Michael Bellart (

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