As COVID Restrictions Relax, Emirates Expands Its China Schedule
As the country begins lifting COVID-19 travel restrictions, Emirates announced on Monday, January 16th, that it would increase its weekly flight operations to China. Air travel demand has dramatically increased since the country reopened its borders. The airline hopes the demand will continue to grow, eventually allowing it to resume operations in China to pre-pandemic levels.
Old routes are being reopenedAlthough many of Emirates’ most prominent routes have not returned, select flights have resumed in recent months after the airline ceased operations to China nearly three years ago. As the airline prepares to reopen two of its most popular Chinese routes, it will dig up these relics. On January 20th, Emirates will offer two weekly flights between Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG), as well as Beijing. On the return trip, however, flight number EK303 will make a stop at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) before proceeding to DXB. On February 2nd, the airline plans to increase weekly flight frequency to four flights per week. At this point, the route will be operated by a Boeing 777. A month later, on March 1st, the airline will increase flight frequency again, adding three more weekly flights to make the DXB to PVG route a daily flight offering. Two weeks later, Emirates plans to resurrect another paused route connecting DXB with Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK). As of March 15th, the airline will resume flights EK307 and EK308, operating seven times a week as daily services aboard a Boeing 777-300ER. This reactivation of the route will restore a vital link between Beijing and the Middle East.
Frequent flightsIn addition to reintroducing these two routes, Emirates will also increase frequencies on an existing route. The airline currently operates a four-weekly flight between DXB and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. Starting February 1st, Emirates plans to add three more weekly flights to this non-stop route, giving it a daily service. The iconic Airbus A380 will be used to carry out flight numbers EK362 and EK363. After the pandemic, Emirates will have 21 weekly flights to China thanks to the increase in frequency and additional routes. In the past three years, the residents have been under strict travel mandates due to the COVID-19 virus that has plagued the country. With the resumption of these routes, many Chinese residents will be able to travel throughout the world once again. Air transit operations to and from China will not reach pre-pandemic levels for a while, as some travel restrictions remain in place. Emirates’ expansion, however, represents a significant step forward from just a few weeks ago, and the Chinese government plans to gradually reduce travel restrictions through 2023. By the end of 2023, Chinese operations should return to normal in the aviation industry.