Wuhan Tianhe Airport is officially reopening for scheduled passenger flights after being closed for two and a half months due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The airport in central China’s Hubei province was forced to shut down on January 23rd, as the government implemented a strict lockdown on Wuhan and the surrounding region. No travellers were allowed to enter or leave the province during the time, which has now officially been ended.
At 7:19 am local time on Wednesday morning, Xiamen Air flight MF8095 became the first regularly scheduled commercial passenger flight to arrive at Wuhan’s Tianhe International Airport (IATA: WUH).
It was not immediately clear how many passengers were on board, or who they are.
This marks the end of China’s measures to shut down the city where the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) was first identified. Although aircraft are now permitted to operate normally to and from Wuhan, the airport will only receive a reduced flight activity.
Since the initial outbreak, the virus has spread around the world, becoming a pandemic. This has led countries to implement travel restrictions, which have in turn caused global passenger air traffic to basically come to a standstill. Most airlines have grounded the majority of their fleets, some even all of it, as they continue to battle with historic lows in demand.
While the Covid-19 epidemic is over in China – at least according to their regime’s numbers – other places of the world are just starting to feel the impact of this ongoing crisis.
The situation is expected to have a longer-term impact on the global economy, and especially the aviation industry. Governments of various countries have promised billions of dollars in bailout funding to companies – primarily in the aviation sector – to avoid a collapse of their economies.
Meanwhile, mainland China’s largest airlines are all state-owned and therefore have not much to worry about financially. The country’s largest private airline conglomerate, HNA Group, was quietly nationalised while the rest of the world was paying attention to Coronavirus as it spread outside of China.
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Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.