China has greatly enhanced its international air freight capacity to maintain the smooth running of the supply chain, according to the country’s top civil aviation regulator on Friday.

With a series of supportive measures in place, the country has seen a giant leap in its international air cargo transportation capacity, said Jin Junhao, deputy director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s transportation department, at a news conference.

Domestic- and foreign-owned international cargo flights in China totaled an average of 2,390 per week in June, a 135.7 percent increase prior to the coronavirus outbreak, and connected with 105 destinations in 45 countries across the globe, he added.

The administration established an international air freight flight information system allowing 24/7 online approval in a simplified manner and approved 2,083 additional chartered all-cargo flights in May and 1,521 in June, a sharp rise of 578.5 percent and 541.8 percent, respectively, from the same period in last year, he said.

Jin said the administration also encouraged airlines to help fill the severe shortage in freight capacity by turning their passenger jets which were sitting idle due to the travel restrictions into cargo-only airplanes.

The country saw 4,625 and 2,539 all-cargo flights by renovated passenger aircraft respectively in the last two months, which cushioned the tough blow to the civil aviation sector by the pandemic, he added.

The administration has also scaled up efforts to facilitate airmail items transportation and added 308 temporary flights to neighboring countries including Japan and South Korea to effectively address the backlog of international mails, he said.

By the end of last month, the civil aviation authority also deployed 1,035 flights carrying over 4,948 tons of materials in an effort to offer emergency humanitarian aid and transport much-needed medical supplies to other countries, according to the administration.

Jin also noted the aviation authority, along with the Ministry of Commerce, has jointly ensured the connections between foreign trade enterprises and air freight transport enterprises, to maintain the balance between supply and demand among those enterprises.

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