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Chinese domestic air travel up just 5% in March

United Airlines' Los Angeles-Shanghai Pudong launch on May 20 is welcomed by Shanghai Airport Authority's Deputy General Manager Hu Zhihong (see Route of the Week)

United Airlines' Los Angeles-Shanghai Pudong launch on May 20 is welcomed by Shanghai Airport Authority's Deputy General Manager Hu Zhihong (see Route of the Week)

CAAC data for March shows that domestic traffic was up just 5.2%, while international passenger numbers rose just 2.7% versus the previous year. The domestic growth figure is the lowest reported since September 2008. Domestic traffic grew by 15% in 2010 and 22% in 2009.

Source: CAAC

Source: CAAC

According to the CAAC’s recently published ’12th Five Year Plan (2011-2015)’ passenger traffic is projected to grow during this period at an average of 11% per annum, while the number of commercial aircraft is also projected to grow by 11% per annum to around 2,750 by 2015.

United starts Los Angeles – Shanghai service this week

Last week (20 May) United began a new daily service between Los Angeles and Shanghai using a 777. The airline began serving China 25 years ago and currently operates 11 daily nonstop flights to Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai from hubs in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington. “United operates more routes from the US to China than any other airline, and this new service is another step in the expansion of our US-China network,” said Jim Compton, United’s executive vice president and chief revenue officer. “The new flights will offer customers additional convenient options for travel between the two countries.”

Competition on the route comes from American Airlines and China Eastern who both offer daily flights. American Airlines only started their daily service on 5 April this year.


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