Post pandemic aviation market recovery: Experience and lessons from China

Achim I. Czerny, Xiaowen Fu, Zheng Lei, Tae H. Oum

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

92 Citations (Scopus)


China was the first aviation market in the world hit hard by COVID-19 and has been recovering gradually as the pandemic became largely under control within mainland China. This study reviews the recovery pattern influenced by the Chinese government's aviation policy choices, in the hope that our discussions and findings will help improve aviation policy responses elsewhere. While the domestic market in mainland China has enjoyed a quick recovery to about 80% of the pre-crisis level by July 2020, the recovery of international services has been much slower, due to the bilateral route and flight frequency/capacity control and strict requirements for health check and quarantine. China's domestic aviation market was recovered by about 80% in two months after the pandemic became under good control. Most other countries with a “curve flattening” strategy, instead of full pandemic control, may not expect the fast recovery path China has achieved. A British “travel corridor” approach may be more practical for Western countries to follow, albeit more likely to be subject to serious setbacks and disruptions. The aviation fee reductions and cost support China and many other countries have been using are helpful by reducing airlines' marginal costs, but not sufficient for carriers to return to profitability or sustainable operations. Capital injection and/or credit guarantee may be needed for many airlines to survive. With various, often uncoordinated, regulations imposed in international markets, airlines based in open economies that have small domestic markets will face particularly serious challenges during the recovery process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101971
JournalJournal of Air Transport Management
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Air transportation
  • Aviation market recovery
  • Chinese airlines
  • COVID-19

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law


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