A covid outbreak has caused China’s ninth-busiest airport for cargo to cancel a large number of flights.
The government imposed a strict lockdown on the city of Xi’an in mid-December, cutting off most transport to the city, including flights.
According to Flightradar24, 104 aircraft are on the ground at Xi’an Airport. The outbreak is linked to the current disruptions being felt at Ningbo port.
Significant delays are expected in the next two months, with the country’s “zero-Covid” policy leading to local restrictions ahead of Chinese New Year and the upcoming Beijing Olympics. Forwarders expect China to crack down on transport, with less charter flights approved and further restrictions on aviation, in particular to Beijing.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled at major Chinese hubs in the last week of December, including Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen. Hong Kong also faces strict regulations on quarantine, which has led to “extremely challenging work patterns”, general manager cargo delivery at Cathay Pacific Frosti Lau told customers.
Frosti says 2021 had been a year of “extreme challenges” with capacity constraints, but the carrier had worked continuously with suppliers and customers to “do what we can to unblock the bottlenecks of the choked global supply chains”. It operated some 8,000 cargo-only passenger flights last year.