Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines is reporting a marked increase in passenger capacity (measured by available seat kilometers or ASKs). In April, the airline says passenger capacity for domestic, regional, and international routes increased significantly measured against April 2020 levels. And perhaps more tellingly, China Southern operated more flights in April 2021 than it did in April 2019.
According to data released by the airline to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the total available seat kilometers across China Southern Airlines in April was 153.6% higher than in April 2020. Given the global airline industry was crash landing last April as the worldwide travel downturn kicked in, that’s no surprise. Nowadays, most airlines refrain from measuring against 2020 figures, preferring 2019 data as the most recent set of ‘normal’ data.
However, throughout April 2021, the number of flights operated by China Southern Airlines did comfortably top the number of flights operated in April 2019. In general, operating flights in April 2021 exceeded April 2019 levels by about 20% across the Chinese domestic airline industry. However, in the first half of May, the gap has narrowed. In the second half of May, the number of China Southern flights operated looks likely to be largely on parity with what the airline flew in May 2019.
On flight numbers alone, OAG data had China Southern Airlines operating 65,356 flights across April. On that metric, the airline ranked as China’s biggest and the fifth largest in the world behind the four big United States-based airlines.
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