Passenger traffic at China’s three major airlines fell sharply in August from a year earlier as strict security measures for the Beijing Olympics deterred travel.
Air China recorded the biggest monthly fall in passenger numbers since 2003, state media reports. In August, the carrier served 2.77 million passengers, 16.6% less year-on-year. It is the sharpest decline since the outbreak of SARS in 2003. The load factor for August fell 13%, to 71.1%.
The Olympics are to blame, state media say, with tightened visa regulations and a cut in flights to Beijing for security reasons singled out as major reasons for the drop, though slower travel demand is affecting all global airlines.
The airlines began posting year-on-year traffic declines in May, hit by a devastating earthquake in southwest China and security steps ahead of the Games, which reversed a steady record of growth fuelled by China’s booming economy.
Although many industry executives have said air traffic was likely to recover after the Games, Air China also cited a weaker tone in the overall economy as a factor weighing on its weak August data.
Source: BizChinaUpdate and Reuters