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China’s just passed the pinnacle of its peak holiday season, Lunar New Year. Known as a time of travel and families reconnecting from across the world, Chinese Lunar New Year has been aptly referred to as the largest human migration of the year. Except this year.
The largest aviation market on the planet experienced a drastic drop in flights leading up to the start of the Year of the Ox, reminiscent of the first days of the pandemic. With a robust return in Chinese domestic travel witnessed in fall 2020, the number of flights operating within the country came within 4% of Spring 2020 lows, according to this TAC Analysis of data provided by Flightradar24.
February 12, 2021 marked the official holiday, as well as the new 2021 lows with domestic flights down 85% from October 2020 highs. Yet, while this descent to rivaled lows has been a month in the making, it does not come as a surprise.
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How China shut down its air travel system for Lunar New Year.