British Airways starting Chengdu service in September; Chinese airlines maintaining steady 11% growth in 2013

Arriving just in time for the start of the Chinese New Year, China Southern Airlines began serving Cairns in Australia at the end of January. Chinese airlines are still growing faster in the domestic market (+11.1%), than in the international market (+9.9%) during the first half of 2013.

The number of passengers travelling on Chinese airlines in the first half of 2013 has increased by an impressive 11% to just over 168 million. Figures from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) reveal domestic traffic (+11.1%) is still growing slightly faster than international traffic (+9.9%). The slightly erratic trend in January and February reflects the fact that the Chinese New Year fell in February in 2013, whereas in 2012 it took place at the end of January.

Chinese airlines development Year-on-year change in monthly passengers: 2007 to 2013

Source: CAAC

Analysis of Innovata / Diio Mi schedule data for the third quarter of 2013, currently indicates that total seat capacity for all airlines at Chinese airports is up 13.5%, compared with the same period last year. During this period, the number of available seats at Beijing Airport is up only 2% compared with 2012.

21 airports handle more than 10 million annual passengers

In 2012 China’s airports handled just under 680 million passengers, an increase of 9.5% compared with 2011. All of the top 21 airports handled more than 10 million passengers, while a total of 57 airports processed more than one million passengers, up from 53 in 2011. The chart below shows the size (and growth rate) of the leading airports in China in 2012, and their nearest European equivalent.

Top 15 Chinese airports in 2012 Annual passengers (millions) [and growth versus 2011]

Source: CAAC

British Airways off to Chengdu; Hainan Airlines to serve Chicago

New international routes starting between August and the end of this year by Chinese airlines include:

  • China Eastern Airlines: Shanghai to Manila (18 October)
  • Hainan Airlines: Beijing to Chicago O’Hare (3 September)
  • Xiamen Airlines: Fuzhou to Jakarta (12 September), Xiamen to Jakarta (12 September), Fuzhou to Bangkok (17 September) and Xiamen to Bangkok (18 September)

New international routes starting between August and the end of this year by non-Chinese airlines include:

  • AirAsia: Kota Kinabalu to Hangzhou (1 August)
  • Azerbaijan Airlines: Baku to Beijing (9 August)
  • British Airways: London Heathrow to Chengdu (22 September)
  • EVA Air: Taipei Taoyuan to Xining (1 August)
  • Qatar Airways: Doha to Chengdu (3 September)
  • Thai Smile: Bangkok to Changsha (27 October) and Bangkok to Chongqing (27 October)
  • Ural Airlines: Chelyabinsk to Beijing (25 September)


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