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Airline market: China catches up US in the sky

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Anastasia Dagaeva
October 23, 2017
Chinese airlines will fly 140 times more passengers in 2017 than they did 35 years ago, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA). Chinese airlines transported 488 million passengers in 2016, up 12% in 2015. Chinese carriers opened 260 new international routes during the year. Passenger boardings jumped 23% to 51.6 million on overseas destinations, which outpaced domestic routes at 436.1 million passengers, up 11% year-over-year.  

The major reason is the country’s economic growth. Being able to spend more money, citizens of the middle-income China are able to fly seven times more often than those living in a poorer neighborhood states. Domestic flying activity leads the statistics but the outbound tourism gets bigger every year — around the Asia Pacific region and also Russia and Europe.  

Chinese GDP growth has slowed, but China economy is still very strong and competitive. The key driver of the economic growth is switching from investment to consumption, forcing the passenger numbers to grow. In 2022 IATA expects the Chinese passengers market (measured as origin destination passengers flying to, from and within the country) to lead the list of the world’s largest ones. Currently the largest airline market is the USA with 823 million passengers  transported in 2016.  
Photo: Leonid Faerberg (Transport-Photo Images) 

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