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China opens zero-COVID gate a crack with more international flights

State-backed airlines face mounting losses under pandemic curbs

Planes with covered engines sit at Beijing Capital International Airport. Air traffic in China remains at a fraction of pre-COVID levels. (Photo by Yusuke Hinata)

GUANGZHOU -- China's plan to increase international flights through next March reflects the strain on Chinese airlines from the country's zero-COVID policy, which shows no sign of ending.

The 840 flights weekly -- incoming and outbound combined -- between late October and late March will be around twice the figure from a year earlier. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced the plan on Oct. 26.

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