Monday Update – January 23, 2023

The China Travel Future That Isn’t, Anymore.
Multi-Billions of Chinese Spend Not Coming Back To USA Airports & Venues

Here’s a figure: fourteen billion dollars.

That’s what Chinese leisure visitors spent in the USA in 2019. That is not the full economic impact. Just the gelt directly applied to the visit. Conservatively estimated.

Here’s another figure: bupkus.

That’s pretty close to what Chinese leisure visitors spent in the USA in 2022, mainly because there weren’t many of them. This represents a huge hit to a wide range of USA venues that were beneficiaries of this travel sector.

Last week, US airlines asked for waivers in 2023 regarding authorities to serve China. The market is only rebounding slowly, they claim.

Wrong. The USA-China air market as it existed before the CCP-Covid pandemic is not really “rebounding” – it is essentially in its death throws, deflating a traffic bubble that was the result of strong discretionary spend and on strong business flows.

Both of these drivers are now history. The entire underpinnings of the USA-China air traffic demand have been demolished. Let’s take a look at data from Airports:China™:

In 2019, air traffic volume between the USA and China represented over 8.8 million O&D, including nonstop and connect itineraries. Of that, approximately 70% were leisure visitors – equating to 3.1 million people entering the US with an estimated per-visitor spend of $4,500.

It is today barely 150,000 total O&D.

Heck, today the largest single US-China market isn’t Beijing or Shanghai. It’s Xiamen, which most people in America couldn’t find on a map. And it’s under 7,000 annual O&D.

Yes, the spread of Covid across China – some estimates are as high as 900 million infected (!) – is one reason. The recently lifted bans on outbound travel from China is certainly another.

But what most of the aviation media is missing is that the Chinese economy that once generated this USA traffic is now a growing wasteland. It’s a blazing mess for a number of reasons that we don’t have time or room here to fully cover.

In short, leisure demand to visit the Grand Canyon or The Big Apple is pretty thin when factories are not paying employees. Or when millions of middle-class citizens have been defrauded by bogus real estate scams. Or when factories are being closed and moved out of country by foreign corporations, due to production problems or the political issues with CCP’s programs of genocide in Xinjiang, or forced human organ transplants.

It is so bad that even the CCP thug patrols who arbitrarily test people are protesting for lack of pay. Or when millions of unpaid workers in major cities don’t have money to buy train tickets to visit family over the Lunar New Year festival.

Entering China Isn’t Good Business. Then there is the commercial side. Because of the CCP’s anti-US policies, this is not a place to go, even without the CCP-produced Covid on the rise. Business travelers are at risk of arbitrary CCP actions. One executive of an Irish aircraft leasing company took a quick trip to visit their offices in Shanghai. He was refused exit for over a year due to the CCP officials trying to extort $30 million in ransom from his company over a concocted airliner deal.

It Hits Pennsylvania and Kentucky and Las Vegas, Too. Bottom line. This is a hit to the USA economy. A fun trip from folks in Beijing or Tianjin to visit Hershey Chocolate Land, or to the glass factory in Elmira, or to hit ‘Vegas just isn’t supportable, anymore.

Those visitors and that 14 mega-large spend are in the history books and aren’t coming back.

It’s the market demand that has fundamentally changed. Nonstops to Beijing and Shanghai will return. But the glowing future that was seen five years ago is now dead.

Naturally, there are a lot of entities on this side of the Pacific who have big time dogs in the fight – heavy financial investment in China. They will do what they can to smokescreen the wreckage growing across the Chinese economy. Even some major news networks. Remember the glowing accolades given the CCP in 2020 for their deft handling of Covid? Funny, those same news outlets don’t seem to remember that.

It won’t change things. The dynamics that generated over 8 million O&D are gone.

US carriers: plan accordingly.


Aviation Unscripted Video Program – New Enhancements

We are honored about the traffic going to our Aviation Unscripted videos, over Rumble and other channels.

Now in its third year, effective February we’ll be making some exciting changes.

Aviation Unscripted With Mike Boyd & Friends will debut in February. It will feature a new format that includes reviews of emerging aviation events and relates them within the future context of the industry. We’ll also be drawing on he expertise of our futurist friends, to get their input and perspectives. Short, concise, and as usual a bit iconoclastic.

In in addition to subject-specific content, we’ll be discussing the latest events in aviation, and how they may affect all sectors – airlines, airports, suppliers and consumers. No sacred cows. No consensus thinking. Group think in the cross-hairs. A valuable ten minutes or so that will widen the exploration of issues affecting aviation.

More information on the way. In the meantime, be sure to check out the current Aviation Unscripted by clicking here.


Just FYI. We depend on Cirium for our data sourcing.

Because accurate information is critical for planning the future.