Passengers check in for a flight from Wuhan, Hubei province, to Beijing. (Photo: China Daily)
BEIJING - China's airline industry showed signs of recovery in May with the decline in key indicators significantly narrowing from a month ago, the country's top aviation authority said Wednesday.
Airlines flew a total of 25.83 million passengers last month, down 52.6 percent year on year. The decline narrowed 15.9 percentage points from April, Xiong Jie, spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), told a press briefing.
Air cargo volume fell 12 percent year on year to 549,000 tonnes, compared with a 19.5-percent decrease registered in April.
The punctuality rate of Chinese airlines reached 94.8 percent in May, Xiong added.
China has been boosting the opening-up of the air transport industry.
The CAAC on Tuesday unveiled a plan to trial the Seventh Freedom of the Air in the Hainan Free Trade Port to implement one aspect of a broader master plan, which was made public on June 1, to build the southern island province into a high-level free trade port.
The Seventh Freedom allows a carrier to operate flights between two foreign countries without the need to touch down in the airline's home country.
The trial of the Seventh Freedom in Hainan means that some international routes in Hainan are now open to the operation of foreign airlines. The number of Hainan's international routes reached 103 in 2020, up from five in 2003, according to the CAAC.
Last week, the CAAC adjusted policies for international passenger flights, allowing more foreign carriers to resume flights to China on a once-a-week basis starting from June 8.
Foreign airlines that have been unable to operate flights to China over the past few months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic can choose a qualified Chinese city for entry starting Monday.
Airlines can file their pre-flight plans for the period to Oct 24, 2020 to the CAAC.