China Eastern Airlines (CEA.NYSE, 600115.SH, 0670.HKG), the country’s second-largest carrier, expects a “big” drop in travel-demand growth this year due to the European debt crisis and an economic slowdown, Bloomberg reported. The carrier’s chairman Liu Shaoyong said demand for international passengers and cargo flights is “clearly falling,” mainly because European consumers are cutting spending. There will also be a “big difference” in full-year travel growth in 2012 from the previous year, he said, though traffic demand will probably recover somewhat in the second half of the year. Li Jiaxiang, director of China’s civil aviation regulator, also said he expects passenger growth to slow this year. The slowdown in overseas travel has driven China Eastern to pause its international expansion and focus on competing on domestic routes with the nation’s leading carriers, China Southern Airlines (ZNH.NYSE, 600029.SH, 1055.HKG) and Air China (601111.SH, 0753.HKG).