China-US flights surge as travel restrictions ease

China-US flights surge as travel restrictions ease

According to data from aviation analytics firm Cirium, there were 329 scheduled flights between China and the US in February, up from 20 in January and just five in December. This is the highest level since March 2020, when the coronavirus outbreak triggered a sharp drop in air travel.

The increase in flights reflects the easing of entry requirements for both Chinese and American travelers. Since February 4, China has allowed US citizens who have received Chinese-made vaccines to apply for visas without providing negative Covid-19 test results or quarantine certificates. Similarly, the US has lifted its ban on travelers from China and other countries, as long as they show proof of vaccination or a negative test result within 72 hours of departure.

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The demand for travel between the two countries is also driven by the Lunar New Year holiday, which fell on February 12 this year. Many Chinese nationals who live or work in the US took the opportunity to visit their families and friends in China, while some Americans traveled to China for business or leisure.

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An Air China plane about to take off from San Francisco International Airport on February 21, 2024

The surge in flights has boosted the revenues of airlines that operate the China-US routes, such as Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. However, the capacity is still far below the pre-pandemic levels, when there were more than 2,000 flights per month between the two countries.

The outlook for the China-US air travel market remains uncertain, as both countries continue to grapple with the challenges of containing the virus and vaccinating their populations. The travel restrictions could change at any time, depending on the epidemiological situation and the diplomatic relations. For now, travelers who wish to fly between China and the US should check the latest regulations and requirements before booking their tickets.


Air China employees wear medical masks at LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal on February 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, California

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Source : CNN Business

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