COVID-19 recovery: Air China files May holiday sched at 2019 levels - CAPA - Centre for Aviation

Summary: Air China’s cautious domestic recovery – accelerates

  • Domestic:  Air China’s domestic capacity levels have dropped approximately 40% on levels in 2019 – a welcome improvement from the 70% reduction in the trough in Feb-2020. Relative to other markets in the midst of massive COVID-19 capacity reductions of 90% cuts or worse, Air China’s domestic operating output is very healthy.

  • International: Air China, like its foreign counterparts, is now operating a skeletal international network. Seat capacity appears to have bottomed to a new low some 95% below the 2019 level, with no near term improvement expected as countries around the world enter lockdown and Air China operates just one frequency per week to selected destinations.

Air China’s domestic operations: capacity addition become more aggressive as the May Labour Day (week-long) holiday approaches 

Air China is consistently delaying the redeployment of ‘normal’ levels of service, but the airline is seemingly becoming more optimistic about the market situation from May-2020 – at least, according to its filed schedules. The CAAC has postponed the switch to summer schedules from late Mar-2020 to early May-2020, which is making direct year-on-year comparison difficult.  

Air China’s domestic capacity levels are currently down approximately 40% on levels in 2019 – a welcome improvement from the 70% reduction in the trough in February.

Relative to other markets in the midst of massive COVID-19 capacity reductions of 90% cuts or worse, Air China’s domestic operating output is reasonably healthy.

This graph plots the forward capacity based on consecutive weekly changes in forward filings of domestic schedules with OAG. This provides an insight into airline planning, with weekly oscillations reflecting the highly volatile environment that airlines are working in.

The green line shows Air China’s plans from two weeks previously, the
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