China Eastern taps travel rush

SINGAPORE, 15 March 2024: China’s 2024 Spring Festival travel rush lasted some 40 days and officially closed on 5 March, after delivering a business bonanza according to statistics released by China Eastern Airlines Group

The parent airline, China Eastern Airlines, and subsidiaries — Shanghai Airlines and China United Airlines — operated 106,800 passenger flights, transporting nearly 16.5 million passengers, with an average load factor exceeding 82%.

According to statistics released by China Eastern Airlines, the airline carried an average of more than 412,400 passengers daily during the Spring Festival travel rush. The peak period occurred from 14 to 16 February, during which the daily passenger volume exceeded 480,000 for each of those three days.

As the largest home-based airline in Shanghai, China Eastern Airlines facilitated over 44,000 arriving and departing flights at the Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport during the Spring Festival travel rush. The airline served over 6.85 million passengers, including more than 530,000 transit passengers and over 4,000 unaccompanied minors.

China’s outbound travel boomed during the Spring Festival, and favourable factors, such as the implementation of visa-free policies, sparked a surge in bookings on flights to Southeast Asia, the most popular region for China’s travellers, followed by Italy. In particular, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand saw a large influx of passengers after introducing visa-free policies.

In the first two months of this year, China Eastern Airlines flights to Malaysia had an average load factor of 82.7%. Meanwhile, the passenger volume on flights between China and Italy increased by 62% year-over-year.

China Eastern Airlines continues to capitalize on the popularity of Southeast Asian destinations in the lead-up to the Easter holiday season, which starts on 29 March. The airline introduces daily flights from Kunming to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, starting on 16 March.

Flight MU9629 will depart Kunming (KMG) at 1725 and arrive in Kuala Lumpur (KUL) at 2140.
Flight MU9630 will depart Kuala Lumpur (KUL) at 2240 and arrive in Kunming (KMG) at 0155 (plus a day)

A 180-seat A320 flies the route daily with a flight time of four hours and five minutes. The roundtrip fare starts at USD535.