US-China air traffic to grow in next five years

A new forecast of China’s airports indicates slowing and redistribution of domestic traffic growth, but China-U.S. traffic potential far more robust than might be expected in light of trade issues between the two nations.

Airports:China report, analyzing forecast trends at China’s top 200 airports, has also determined that less than 15% of the potential China-US demand is now being captured. Based on new airline hubs expected at Beijing and Shanghai, the forecast indicates “floodgates of traffic will open to the USA by 2023.” Key findings:

#1 Air Passenger Market: In 2020, China’s airports will handle 1.46 billion passengers – up 60% from 2015. Annual growth will slow from over 10% historically to under 7.0%. Still, China air traffic will eclipse the USA by late 2021.

New Beijing Hubs. The forecast predicts that in 2020, the new Beijing Daxing airport will handle 45.3 million passengers. By 2022, China Southern and China Eastern will have substantial connecting operations at Daxing, and Air China likewise at Beijing Capital. These will flow passengers from across China to connect across the globe, including to the hubs of their U.S. alliance partners. “American, Delta and United will offer extensive new China connect opportunities,” with the forecast indicating that American Airlines will be particularly benefitted.

More China-U.S. nonstops. For the first time, business leaders in China’s commercial centers like Xi’an, Mianyang, and Kunming will have convenient access to points across the USA, and the same for Americans headed to China. Chinese carriers will have sufficient connecting passengers at their new Beijing hubs to support new nonstops to points such as St. Louis, Orlando, and Miami. “The new China-generated traffic could be exponential in growth.”