The Zhitong Finance App learned that Haitong Securities released a research report saying that international flights were recovering at an accelerated pace in '23. Domestic and international supply and demand during peak seasons such as May Day Golden Week, summer travel, and the Mid-Autumn Festival 11th holiday rose rapidly month-on-month, and high ticket prices led to a sharp rise in airline volume and prices.The industry recovery trend has been established, and the general cycle is gradually rising: In the future, with the relaxation of exit policies, demand for international air travel will further pick up, and the problem of excess domestic capacity will be improved. Furthermore, ground support and airline capacity at overseas airports are gradually being restored, and it is expected that international flights will be further repaired. China's airlines have long seen a slowdown in the growth rate of capacity introduction and high certainty; travel confidence continues to recover, and they are optimistic that the long-term investment logic of the aviation industry will not change in the future (that is, improving the supply and demand pattern and marketization of ticket prices).
▍ The main views of Haitong Securities are as follows:
Travel is popular during the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day, and civil aviation has sent a total of 17.14 million passengers.
During the 2023 Mid-Autumn Festival National Day holiday period (September 29 to October 6, same below), the cultural tourism industry recovered strongly and people were enthusiastic about traveling. According to data center estimates from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the number of domestic tourists during the 8-day holiday period reached 830 million, up 71.3% year on year and 4.1% over the same period in '19; domestic tourism revenue reached 753.43 billion yuan, up 129.5% year on year, and 1.5% over the same period in '19. In terms of travel, according to data from the Ministry of Transport, 450 million visitors were sent during the Mid-Autumn Festival National Day holiday, with an average of 56.813 million visitors per day, an increase of 55.1% over the previous year and a decrease of 34.9% over the same period in '19.
The reason for the decline is mainly due to changes in system caliber and a rapid rise in the proportion of self-driving trips (according to data from the Ministry of Transport, highway traffic during the holiday period was 487 million, an average of 608.75 million vehicles per day, an increase of 21.7% over the same period in '19). In addition, civil aviation sent a total of 17.140 million passengers, an average of 2.143 million passengers per day, up 191.5% year on year, up 13.1% from the same period in '19; railways sent 140 million passengers, an average of 17.725 million passengers per day, up 157.0% year on year and 20.5% over the same period in '19.
The volume and price of domestic civil aviation routes once again rose sharply during the holidays, and the number of international flights was close to 60% in '19.
During the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday, domestic civil aviation routes sent a total of 15.394 million passengers, with an average of 1,924,000 passengers per day, slightly exceeding the level of the summer travel period (an average of 1.902 million passengers per day). Domestic demand flexibility was once again unleashed during the peak holiday season. According to flight manager statistics, the average economy class fare during the 2023 National Day holiday exceeded 900 yuan, and the average daily fare increased 13.3% over 2019, successfully achieving a sharp rise in volume and price.
In terms of international routes, it is estimated that 1,746,000 passengers were sent during the holiday season, with an average of 218,000 passengers per day, far exceeding the level of the summer travel period (113,000 passengers per day). A total of 1,273 international flights were operated on October 6, which has recovered to 57.6% of the same period in '19.
By region, in the 39th week (September 25 to October 1), the number of outbound flights from Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Australia, etc. all exceeded 60% of the same period in '19, and the number of flights to Japan and Thailand recovered to 49.3% and 46.5% of the same period in '19, respectively. The number of flights between China and the US has increased to 30 per week, recovering to 8.7% of the same period in '19.
The popularity of domestic regional airports is increasing, and multiple benefits for inbound and outbound travel are expected to accelerate the recovery of international flights.
Strong demand for travel during the holidays “spills over” from big cities to small cities, compounded by tourists avoiding crowds, and the popularity of some regional airports has increased. According to data from Where to Go, airline ticket bookings for holidays to places such as Dandong in Liaoning, Hechi in Guangxi, and Zhoushan in Zhejiang all increased by more than 30% compared to the same period in '19. The tourism service capacity of small cities has been enhanced after three years of development, and the vitality of regional airports has been enhanced.
In terms of international routes, it has recently ushered in multiple favorable policies in terms of tourism. On September 27, the General Office of the State Council issued “Certain Measures on Unleashing Tourism Consumption Potential and Promoting the High-Quality Development of the Tourism Industry”, which proposed strengthening inbound tourism efforts in terms of optimizing visa and customs clearance policies, and restoring and increasing international flights. Subsequently, the Ministry of Public Security and the State Administration of Immigration announced the implementation of regional visa-free entry policies in Shanghai, Hainan and other places. Furthermore, South Korea announced that it plans to waive visa processing fees for Chinese group visitors until December 31, 2023. Multiple benefits for inbound and outbound travel have arrived, and we will continue to pay attention to the recovery process of international flights.
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