China has announced plans to offers subsidies to airlines suffering a downturn following the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in the country and the strict travel restrictions put in place.
The Chinese finance ministry said it would offer assistance to affected airlines between May 21st and July 20th, subject to certain criteria being met.
Airlines will receive financial support if average daily numbers of domestic flights drop below 4,500, and when average load factors are lower than 75%. The support offered will be limited to 24,000 yuan ($3,574) per hour.
Another poor year is expected for Chinese airlines in 2022, compounding the heavy losses of the past two years. While the rest of the world is returning to some semblance of normality, China steadfastly sticks with its “Zero Covid” policy, aiming to completely eradicate the virus within its borders.
The Chinese aviation industry has gone into freefall as a result of lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed by Beijing. Shanghai International Airport reported that passenger numbers down 98.9% in April compared to the same period a year earlier, a figure which itself was already much lower than pre-pandemic numbers.
China’s aviation industry reported a net loss of 84.25 billion yuan last year, a marginal improvement on the 102.96 billion yuan loss for 2020.