China Eastern Airlines — Flights, Punctuality & Cancellations in 2021

Here's the most detailed operational assessment of China Eastern Airlines. We've analyzed available data, calculated and assessed China Eastern's flights, punctuality, and cancellation rates in 2021. Here are the results!

China Eastern Airlines — Flights, Punctuality & Cancellations in 2021

Since we’ve recently analyzed many carriers from the Middle East (e. g. Emirates, Qatar Airways, or Saudi Arabian Airlines, and several airlines from Europe (Lufthansa, Ryanair, or Air France), we thought it was time to look closer at Asia. That’s why we took a deep dive into one of Asia’s biggest airlines: China Eastern Airlines. First, we checked flight rankings, punctuality reports, and cancellation rates. Moreover, we benchmarked China Eastern Airlines’ flight performance against regional and global averages. Here’s what’s contained in detail:

Flight Analysis
Monthly Flight Overview
Global & Asian Ranking By Number of Flights
Pre-COVID Benchmark

Flight Punctuality
Monthly Punctuality Overview
Global & Asia Ranking By Punctuality

Flight Cancellations
Monthly Cancellation Overview
Global & Asian Ranking By Cancellation Rate

China Eastern Airlines — Flight Analysis

Let’s kick off the analysis with details about China Eastern Airline flights from February to June 2021. Then, we also provide information on the carrier’s share in Asia traffic on top of the overall numbers. Moreover, we compare the airline’s ranking to other Asian and global airlines. Finally, and as the icing on the cake, we set China Eastern’s flight performance in 2021 into relation to pre-COVID results from 2019 — and we can already promise some exciting results!

Monthly Flight Overview

China Eastern Airlines started the year with almost 40,000 monthly flights. If you already had a look at some European or Middle East airlines, you can imagine how tremendous this amount of flights is. Moreover, China Eastern Airlines was able to grow its number of flights by more than 60% in March. As a result, the airline operated more than 63,000 flights in March. However, it seems that China Eastern Airlines reached a tableau in March since the number of flights did not continue to grow significantly. On the contrary, after moderate growth in April and May, China Eastern Airlines had to decline almost 6% in June.

MonthNo. Flightsvs. prev. Month
February39,511
March63,85961.6%
April65,3932.4%
May67,9933.9%
June64,0005.9%
Avg. ’2160,151
China Eastern Airlines – Number of Monthly Flights February – June 2021

The below chart on the right perfectly illustrates China Eastern’s growth from February to June: A sharp increase in March, follow by small growth and decline in June. The chart on the left shows China Eastern’s traffic share concerning the overall traffic of Asian airlines. With more than 15% traffic share, China Eastern Airlines reached the top in May.

China Eastern’s Share Concerning Total Asia Flights Feb – Jun ’21
China Eastern's - Number of flights per month Feb - Jun '21
China Eastern’s – Number of flights per month Feb – Jun ’21

Domestic, Asian & Global Ranking By Flight Volume

The table below shows China Eastern’s domestic, Asian, and global ranking by the number of flights. Well, we have to admit it looks pretty dull. Since China Southern Airlines isn’t included, China Eastern constantly ranks first on a domestic and Asian level. However, from a global point of view, America’s big four (American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines) performed more flights.

MonthDomestic Rank Asia Rank Global Rank
February115
March115
April115
May115
June115
Average ’21115
China Eastern Airlines – Domestic, Asian & Global Ranking by Flight Volume
China Eastern Airlines Average Monthly Flights 2021

Pre-COVID Benchmark

The figures below are probably some of the most interesting of this report. Moreover, the results are totally different from most other airlines — especially from Europe and the Middle East. Besides the number of flights in 2021, we added the corresponding figures from 2019. Except for February, and contrary to many other airlines, China Eastern Airlines operated on a level similar to pre-pandemic. On top of that, China Eastern was able to exceed 2019 flight figures in April and May. However, and due to “weak” February, China Eastern operated 5,195 flights less on average compared to 2019.

MonthFlights 2021Flights 2019’21 vs. ’19 (abs)’21 vs. ’19 (%)
February39,51163,50423,993 37.8%
March63,85965,2281,369 2.0%
April65,39364,322 1,071 1.7%
May67,99367,603390 0.1%
June64,00066,0742,075 3.1%
Avg. ’2160,15165,3465,195 7.9%
China Eastern Airlines – Number of Monthly Flights Compared to Pre-COVID
Comparison China Eastern Airlines Flight To PRe-COVID

China Eastern Airlines – Flight Punctuality

In the following chapter, we take a deeper look at China Eastern Airlines’ flight punctuality. Again, we benchmark the Asian and global averages and provide a domestic, regional, and global ranking.

Monthly Puncutality Overview

In terms of punctuality, China Eastern Airlines showed a weak performance in 2021: Compared to the Asian average, China Eastern achieved a 5 pp lower punctuality. Moreover, compared to the global benchmark, China Eastern’s performance is more than 9 pp weaker. Especially compared to other big (European) carriers (Ryanair >92%, Aeroflot >92%, KLM >90%), it seems that China Eastern has some homework to do.

FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneMonthly Average ’21
China Eastern75.0%75.5%70.3%62.6%70.5%70.8%
Asia Average74.9%77.8%76.8%74.3%74.6%75.7%
Global Average77.7%82.5%81.9%80.9%76.8%79.9%
China Eastern Airlines – Punctuality for Flights February – June 2021
China Eastern Airlines Punctuality in 2021

China Eastern Airlines Flights — Domestic, Asian & Global Ranking By Punctuality

Based on the weak performance, China Eastern Airlines ranks as one of the world’s most unpunctual airlines in many months. Especially in April, May, and June, only 20-30 other airlines showed a weaker performance.

MonthDomestic RankAsia RankGlobal Rank
February447109
March351165
April556174
May252181
June450175
Average ’21451161
China Eastern Airlines – Domestic, Asian & Global Ranking By Punctuality

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China Eastern Airlines – Flight Cancellations

In the last chapter of this report, we take a detailed look at flight cancellations. Similar to the previous chapter, we put results in relation to regional averages and provide rankings.

Monthly Cancellation Overview

As we will see in the below table, China Eastern Airlines’ flight cancellation performance puts it in a similar position for punctuality. On average, China Easter 8.4% of its flights. Although the Asian average is even worse, the results are pretty devastating.

FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneMonthly Average ’21
China Eastern18.5%4.5%2.2%6.8%10.2%8.4%
Asia Average13.8%11.3%11.2%13.9%15.4%13.1%
Global Average8.7%6.1%6.3%7.7%8.9%7.5%
China Eastern Airlines – Cancellation February – June 2021
China Eastern Airlines Cancellation Rate in 2021

China Eastern Airlines Flights — Domestic, Asian & Global Ranking by Cancellations

From a global point of view and similar to the on-time performance, China Eastern ranks in the last third when it comes to cancellations.

MonthDomestic RankAsia RankGlobal Rank
February555171
March546158
April332127
May343159
June447179
Average ’21445159
China Eastern Airlines – Domestic, Asian & Global Ranking By Cancellations February – June 2021

Used Data

The shown information is based on OAG data and internal data sources. Rankings only included airlines that operated more than 300 flights in the respective month. However, the global benchmark includes all tracked flights. On average, 210 airlines are included in each month’s analysis. Whenever stated, EMEA refers to airlines based in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa. The ranking and underlying data do not include China Southern Airlines.

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About the author

Benjamin Walther

CEO, Frankfurt

Benjamin is Information Design's CEO and a proven content-maniac. Besides running a successful business and developing pioneering ideas, he's dedicated to writing blog posts and creating content.

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