Domestic demand boost for Spring Airlines

Yang Jian
Shanghai-based carrier becomes one of the world's fastest growing airlines amid the coronavirus pandemic thanks to China's rapid economic and production recovery.
Yang Jian
Domestic demand boost for Spring Airlines
Ti Gong

A Spring Airlines passenger aircraft.

Shanghai-based Spring Airlines has become one of the world’s fastest growing airlines amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, thanks to China’s rapid economic and production recovery.

Since early this year, the domestic capacity of the budget carrier has increased 1.5 times year on year, with an average load factor above 85 percent, the airline said on Wednesday.

The airline has opened over 60 new routes to cap demand as domestic travel outpaced overseas journeys due to the pandemic.

The global civil aviation industry is set to lose a total of US$84.3 billion this year because of the impact of COVID-19, according to the International Air Transport Association. Bankruptcy has been the fate of 23 airlines amid the pandemic and global carriers will need five years to fully recover.

“Spring is expected to become the world’s best recovered airline amid COVID-19,” said Zhou Weihong, deputy general manager of Shanghai Spring Tour.

During the eight-day National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, the number of domestic travelers taking Spring Airlines flights recovered to 80 percent of last year’s figure while long-distance routes saw a 30 percent increase.

The carrier announced another eight direct routes from Shanghai to popular domestic destinations on Wednesday for the upcoming winter and spring season starting on October 25.

They include Lijiang in southwest Yunnan Province, Weifang in Shandong Province, Ganzhou and Nanchang in Jiangxi Province, Tongliao in Inner Mongolia, Guangyuan in Sichuan Province, Zhengzhou in Henan Province and Beihai in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Currently, Spring Airlines operates nearly 1,300 weekly flights to 68 domestic and overseas destinations from Pudong and Hongqiao airports, with 34,000 daily passengers, said Wang Zhigang, the airline’s market director.

The carrier has received its first A321neo, the next generation narrow-body passenger jet from Airbus with a larger capacity than other single-aisle airliners. Another five new aircraft will be delivered by the end of the year, Wang said.

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