March 16, 2020 picture of people wearing face masks walk at Beijing Capital International Airport as the country tries to contain imported cases of coronavirus. (Photo: CGTN)
China's passenger numbers fell 68.5 percent in April from a year ago, for a drop smaller than in March, the aviation regulator said on Wednesday, pointing to a fragile industry recovery from the coronavirus pandemic as other nations reopen economies.
The global tourism industry is closely watching trends in China for clues to travel patterns in other major markets as countries race to lift travel curbs.
Air passengers numbered 16.72 million in April, Xiong Jie, a spokesman of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, told an online news conference. That compared with a decline of 71.7 percent on the year in March, when passengers numbered 15.13 million.
China's tourism sector showed encouraging signs of recovery over the May Day holiday with 115 million trips made, many by car and by younger people emerging from weeks of virus lockdown measures.
More than 30 percent of capacity has returned in the Chinese domestic market in the last two months, aviation data provider Cirium said on Tuesday.
But the number of passenger flights in China has not yet recovered to 60 percent of the levels seen in past years, Jin Junhao, another CAAC official, said during Wednesday's conference.