With so much focus in Travel Retail on the domestic airports in China, Air4casts’ Chart of the Day lists the top 20 airports in mainland China ranked by their domestic passenger volume.
All data comes directly from the official passenger numbers that are declared by each airport and submitted to the Chinese and global civil aviation authorities. These range from the CAAC in China to both ACI and ICAO.
That’s important because it is only those verified, hard headcount numbers that should be used to determine the number of passengers handled by any airport. Using seat capacities and/or bookings data as a proxy for hard PAX headcount invariably produces inaccurate results.
A prime example of this is a recent article on one of the Travel Retail press websites where the top China airport for domestic departures in 2021 is shown to be Beijing Capital. Readers will see from the chart below that the reality is significantly different.
Beijing Capital airport was nowhere near the top of the rankings in 2021. In fact Beijing Capital airport has not led the domestic passenger rankings in China since 2019.
There are several reasons for this, not least of which was the opening of Beijing Daxing airport in September 2019 and its gradual erosion of PEK’s domestic services.
So which airports did lead the 2021 China domestic passenger rankings? Read on for the full picture. It may be an eye opener…