International flights greatly reduced: China continues to seal itself off

Status: 02.11.2021 8:19 a.m.

China’s borders are almost completely closed, and the number of international flight connections is also being further reduced. The reason is the strict zero covid strategy. The German economy is concerned.

By Steffen Wurzel, ARD-Studio Shanghai.

Many countries in the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly opening their borders and promoting more business travel and tourism. In China, the opposite is happening: In the country where the Covid 19 pandemic originated, the authorities continue to rely on isolation.

The Chinese authorities are further reducing the number of international passenger flights to and from China with the new winter flight schedule – by around a third compared to the summer flight schedule that has just ended. That is what the aviation authority of the People’s Republic ordered.

“Hardly reasonable hurdles” for the economy

Criticism comes from the German Chamber of Commerce in China, among others. Even now, the very tight flight offer and the strict entry conditions are an “unreasonable hurdle” for German companies, explained the AHK. The fact that the airlines now have to further reduce the already scarce offer of connections to China shatters “the hope of a quick opening,” said the head of the Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, Maximilian Butek ARD radio.

China’s new winter flight schedule only allows around 400 cross-border connections per week. That is not only a third fewer flights than in the summer flight schedule, but only 2.2 percent of the international connections compared to 2019. China’s aviation authority justifies this with the corona pandemic: The further reduction in flights that has now taken place is “in line with the requirements of fighting pandemic”.

Travel and quarantine are extremely expensive

China’s state and party leadership is pursuing an uncompromising zero-covid policy. That is why it almost completely closed the borders of the People’s Republic more than a year and a half ago. Non-Chinese citizens rarely get a visa.

It is also becoming increasingly difficult for the Chinese to return to the People’s Republic. The very limited number of flights makes travel extremely expensive, plus the costs for the usually three-week hotel quarantine.

The interpersonal exchange between China and the rest of the world has been virtually at a standstill since March last year. Other countries in the Asia-Pacific region recently announced that they would reopen their borders, including Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan and Australia.

China further reduces international flights: criticism from the German economy

Steffen Wurzel, ARD Shanghai, 2.11.2021 · 07:43

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