The Air Current

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While the rest of the world dealt with labor shortages, full flights, and high fares, June 2022 arrived very differently for China. Still in lock-down from its most recent wave of COVID, China operated only 35% of the number of flights flown in the same month in 2019.

Yet, China ended June very differently than it began the month. During June the number of commercial international and domestic flights in China has more than doubled as lock-downs are slowly lifted and the public returns to travel.

China’s regression into lock-down at a time when the remaining world’s markets were in concerted recovery created an imbalance. When measuring the world’s return to flight, China’s absence, and its oversized share of global air traffic, masked the west’s enthusiasm.

Related: Asia still dominates dormant fleet, but it’s not clear how many jets will return

Just as the world’s recovery was heating up after the Omicron variant, China was entering another wave of lockdown and keeping fleets on the ground. Yet, the potential for China to reengage in the global travel economy was ever-present, consequently, anticipation of a market without the negative effects of a China lock-down have been building. That anticipation began transforming into reality in June 2022.

Following the recent TAC Analysis of the drag of Asia on the global narrowbody aircraft market, we turn our attention to the travel recovery within China, now taking off. This renewed air traffic is set to significantly affect the global market, creating an inflection point in the air travel recovery – if it holds.

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Courtney Miller is Managing Director of Analysis for The Air Current. Miller most recently spent 10-years with Bombardier Aerospace, serving as director, North America sales for the company’s commercial aircraft line and led airline marketing and analysis for the western hemisphere for airlines in North and South America and the community of global aircraft lessors. Miller is also founder of, where he merged industry history and analysis with insightful and beautiful data visualization to illustrate contemporary trends. Miller is a 3,000-hour U.S. airline pilot and began his career flying for U.S. regional airline Comair. He holds a Masters of Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle University and a Bachelors of Science in Aviation Technology from Purdue University. He is based in the Dallas, Texas Metroplex.

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