After rebounding to pre-pandemic levels last year, air traffic in China has sunk back down to 35% of what it was in 2019 as officials continue to impose restrictions on travel as part of their fraught battle with Covid.
Flight activity has dropped sharply in the past two months, coinciding with a rise in infections and as authorities turn to more targeted measures instead of broad steps like citywide lockdowns. Beijing is still urging residents not to leave, while Shanghai has imposed restrictions on people entering the city. Localized lockdowns have effectively shuttered places such as Chongqing and Zhengzhou.
China used to be the world’s busiest domestic aviation market, handling about 14,000 flights a day. That number had dropped to about 2,800 on Monday, according to Chinese aviation data provider VariFlight. Transport in general is in the doldrums. Subway usage in Chongqing, which is experiencing one of the country’s most significant Covid outbreaks, plunged as much as 91% on some days this month.
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