Spring Fes­ti­val travel rush gets started

Trans­porta­tion sec­tor ramps up to max­i­mum ca­pac­ity to man­age 40 days of heavy de­mand

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO LEI in Bei­jing zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The coun­try’s trans­porta­tion sec­tors geared up on Wed­nes­day to full ca­pac­ity to han­dle the an­nual surge of trav­el­ers at the start of the 40-day Spring Fes­ti­val hol­i­day rush.

More than 1 mil­lion trips were made via 12,500 air­line flights on the first day of the hol­i­day pe­riod, known as chun­yun, which will run un­til March 16, ac­cord­ing to the Civil Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion of China.

China Rail­way Corp, op­er­a­tor of the coun­try’s trains, said it han­dled 6 mil­lion trips on Wed­nes­day.

Chi­nese tra­di­tion holds that peo­ple should re­turn home and spend Spring Fes­ti­val with their fam­i­lies. The ob­ser­vance cre­ates an an­nual travel rush that may be the largest re­cur­rent hu­man migration in the world. The Spring Fes­ti­val feast day falls on Feb 19 this year.

Dur­ing the travel peak last year, Chi­nese pas­sen­gers made more than 3.6 bil­lion trips. Among them, about 3.3 bil­lion were made by road, 266 mil­lion by rail, 44 mil­lion by air and 42 mil­lion by ship.

China Rail­way Corp ex­pects that about 289 mil­lion trips will be made dur­ing the 40-day chun­yun this year, 26 mil­lion more than last year. An av­er­age 7 mil­lion trips will be made by train ev­ery day dur­ing the pe­riod.

The com­pany said it plans to run 3,063 pairs of trains dur­ing the com­ing travel peak, an in­crease of 335 pairs from last year.

Air China, the coun­try’s flag­ship air­line, has planned for nearly 44,900 flights dur­ing this year’s chun­yun, a 10 per­cent in­crease year-on-year, Xu Yanchun, the com­pany’s head of pub­lic­ity, said on Wed­nes­day.

The car­rier is ex­pected to help pas­sen­gers com­plete about 8.6 mil­lion trips dur­ing this year’s chun­yun, he said.

Air China ex­pects to pro­vide around 3,200 ad­di­tional do­mes­tic flights and more than 400 in­ter­na­tional flights to serve the trans­port rush.

China South­ern Air­lines, an­other ma­jor car­rier, said it will pro­vide more than 8,000 ad­di­tional flights dur­ing the hol­i­day pe­riod, rais­ing the to­tal num­ber to nearly 90,000, a 27 per­cent in­crease from last year, the com­pany said in a state­ment.

The Civil Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion of China fore­cast that more than 47 mil­lion trips will be made by air dur­ing this year’s chun­yun, and it has ar­ranged for Chi­nese air­lines to add 8,740 do­mes­tic flights and 3,052 in­ter­na­tional flights to deal with the pas­sen­ger surge, ac­cord­ing to Wang Zhiqing, deputy direc­tor of the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Wang Hanlin, deputy manager of Bei­jing Cap­i­tal In­ter­na­tional Air­port’s op­er­a­tions and man­age­ment cen­ter, said the air­port will han­dle nearly 10 mil­lion trips dur­ing the chun­yun, av­er­ag­ing 245,900 each day.

The two civil air­ports in Shang­hai are ex­pect­ing a to­tal pas­sen­ger load of up to 10 mil­lion, while the Guangzhou air­port will deal with 6.9 mil­lion trips, com­pany fore­casts say.

Guan Hongjun, deputy chief of the pa­trol team at the air­port po­lice’s West Ter­mi­nal sta­tion, said pas­sen­gers should be pre­pared for pos­si­ble con­ges­tion at the air­port and for flight de­lays.

“Dur­ing the chun­yun, pas­sen­gers are likely to en­counter de­lays caused by bad weather at the air­port, along the flight route or at their des­ti­na­tion be­cause it of­ten snows dur­ing the pe­riod,” he said.

ZOU HONG / CHINA DAILY

Trav­el­ers crowd the wait­ing room

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