Chinese carriers restart their engines

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NEWS FOR the world’s airlines goes from bad to worse. In April the International Air Transport Association, their trade body, forecast the industry’s global revenues would fall by $314bn in 2020, down by 55% from last year, owing to pandemic-related travel disruptions. Carriers are laying off thousands of workers. In a vote of no-confidence on their future, on May 2nd Warren Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway, the venerated investor’s conglomerate, had dumped all the shares it owned in American airline firms. Skies in one part of the world, though, look a bit less bleak. The aviation industry in China, where covid-19 was first detected, may have the worst behind it.

The pandemic curve began to flatten in China weeks before the rest of the world entered lockdown. As curbs on internal travel ease and offices reopen, domestic flights are regaining lost ground (see chart). In the first week of May, a holiday in China, capacity was...

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