BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- China saw over 65 million passenger trips made by air during the just concluded 40-day Spring Festival travel period, boosting country's steps to further develop its civil aviation industry.
A total of 607,317 flights transported 65.41 million passengers, a year-on-year increase of 9.5 and 11.7 percent, respectively, during the 40days from February 1 to March 12, said Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
Improvements in flight scheduling and punctuality rates contributed to the safe and smooth operation of Chinese airports during the Spring Festival travel period, the CAAC said.
The annual travel rush around the festival, when Chinese travel to celebrate the Lunar New Year with their families, puts pressure on the country's transport infrastructure.
In 2018, the country witnessed a total of 2.97 billion passenger trips made by all modes of transport during the Spring Festival travel period.
Upgrades to the civil aviation industry are playing a critical role in easing congestion during the travel period, with more flights connecting major Chinese cities, tourist destinations, and regions with large numbers of migrant workers.
As China's largest air hub, Beijing Capital International Airport handled around 67,000 flights transporting 10.98 million passengers during the 40-day period.
Shanghai saw more than 83,700 flights through its two airports, Pudong and Hongqiao, with a record high of 12.61 million passenger trips.
China's civil aviation industry has surged alongside its continuous reform and opening-up.
At the end of 2017, the country's civil fleet stood at 3,296 aircraft and the industry exceeded 10 million flight hours for the first time, according to CAAC.
China is forecast to pass the United States to become the world's largest civil aviation market by 2022, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in its air passenger forecast.