As one of the world’s first airlines, China Southern exceeded pre-COVID passenger numbers on the monthly comparison. We took a closer look at China Southern’s latest traffic performance.

China Southern Traffic

At the beginning of May 2021, China Souther proudly reported April traffic figures. As the first of the world’s biggest airlines, China Southern reported higher passenger numbers than pre-COVID April 2019. 

China Southern: Comparing Passengers Numbers To Pre-COVID Traffic (April 2021 – April 2019)

Let’s first take a look at the overall numbers. In April 2021, China Southern transported an overall number of 12.046 million passengers. Compared to April 2019’s figures (11.943 mil.), the number of passengers increased by ~100,000 passengers. That’s an increase of 0.8%.

However, it is worth looking at the details behind the numbers.

April 2021 (mil)April 2019 (mil)
China Southern — Passenger Figures April 2021 vs. April 2019

As shown in the table above, the growth in passenger numbers solely results from China Southern’s domestic passengers. The number of domestic passengers is up 19% compared to April 21. Moreover, regional and international traffic remains at a very low level and 92%, respectively, 96% below April 2021’s passengers.

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China Southern’s Available Seat Kilometers Underpin That Domestic Traffic Drives the Growth

Available Seat-Kilometers (ASK) usually better understand an airline’s traffic and capacity than plain passenger numbers. Nevertheless, when looking at China Southern’s ASK of April 2021 compared to 2019, the picture speaks a different language than the number of passengers.

April 2021 (mil)April 2019 (mil)
China Southern — Available Seat Kilometers April 2021 vs. April 2019

From a total ASK point-of-view, China Southern’s traffic is still some 30% below April 2019. Although domestic ASKs are higher, regional and international ASKs are some 94% below the pre-COVID level.

File:B-2735 Boeing 787 China Southern (33922135251).jpg
China Southern — B787 (Source: Wikimedia)

China Southern’s Traffic April’s Traffic Figures: Key Take-Aways

Every Positive Piece of News is Important

Although ASKs speak a slightly different language, it is good to see that airlines are on their way back to a new normal. Moreover, it is definitely an outstanding achievement of China Southern to top April 2019’s traffic and passenger numbers.

Domestic Traffic is China’s Backbone

In contrary to European airlines, China can rely on a robust domestic market. And this is probably one of the most significant assets during one of the most global crises ever. It’s also a conclusion we draw in some of our latest posts about How Corona Changed The Global Traffic and how the 3rd wave hit the global aviation industry.

What do you Think?

We’re always happy to get your feedback! Leave us a comment or get in touch with the author on social media!

Data sources
Data in this article was derived from China Southern’s official statements.


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Benjamin is a content-maniac, music-lover, aviation-enthusiast, and CEO of Information Design (in this order). His daily business revolves around pioneering solutions to change the way airlines, airports, and aviators use information. His visions are based on expertise gained in more than 15 years in the industry and working with renowned airlines + airports worldwide.

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