China's International Air Cargo Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Levels

China's international air cargo industry is experiencing a takeoff, exceeding pre-pandemic levels for the first time in February 2024. According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the country's airlines transported a staggering 3.46 billion tonne-kilometers (tkm) of cargo on international routes during the month. This remarkable figure represents a significant year-on-year increase of 108.6%, showcasing a robust recovery from the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The growth extends beyond just returning to pre-pandemic levels. Compared to February 2019, China's international air cargo volume witnessed a further impressive rise of 9.9%. This indicates a potential long-term shift towards a more dynamic air cargo market in the post-pandemic era.

Analysts attribute this surge to several factors. The ongoing relaxation of travel restrictions worldwide has facilitated a resumption of international air traffic. Additionally, a strong global demand for manufactured goods, a sector where China is a major player, has fueled the need for efficient air cargo transportation.

Breaking down the figures, Europe emerged as the top destination for China's air cargo in February, accounting for 92,000 tonnes. This highlights the continued significance of this trade corridor for both regions. Interestingly, cargo volumes on routes connecting China with countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) witnessed an even steeper recovery. This suggests that China's strategic infrastructure development program is playing a role in bolstering international air cargo movement.

The CAAC report also underlines a record high of 216,000 tonnes of cargo transported on international routes in February. This achievement underscores the increasing capacity and efficiency of China's air cargo industry. Industry experts anticipate this growth trajectory to continue in the coming months, fueled by factors like further easing of travel restrictions and the upcoming peak season for air cargo demand.

China's thriving international air cargo market presents a positive sign for the global economy. As a key player in global supply chains, China's efficient air cargo network ensures the timely movement of goods, contributing to economic stability and growth. The robust performance of the sector also highlights the resilience of the Chinese aviation industry in adapting to the evolving post-pandemic landscape.

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