China’s major airlines have seen increasing profits on their domestic routes during the first half of the year. But their international flights performed lower during the same period. And that is the very clear pattern.
Internal flights up, external flights down.
Now Chinese airlines think there will be a rebound in overseas travel and have started to make preparations for the upcoming rebound in international air travel for the second half.
They may be sorely disappointed in the results.
Yes, there will be an upbound. But it will not be to the level enjoyed heretofore.
Data from the civil aviation regulator showed zero growth in the international market in July. Which sounds bad, but is a change from the negative growth reported in the first half. Note that zero growth is from a very low base.
This is the lowest overseas travel has been for a long time. Still, it is seen as a hopeful sign. Major airlines are no longer shifting their capacity to domestic flights.
Sources say Air China and Eastern Airlines will receive deliveries of new, larger planes in the second half.
CCTV.com quoted Kong Dong, Air China Chairman, who said, "We won’t give up some important international routes such as China to Europe, the US and Australia. If we did, the difficulties for us to come back to the competitive market would be very hard after it rebounds." This is very true. The question is how far will it rebound? Some pessimists suggest that the glory days are over. The next few months will show the trend.