Aviation Companies Lead the effort of Social Recovery amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

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In early 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak disrupted people's lives, and many countries around the world began to impose strict travel ban. In order to facilitate global cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, civil aviation staff around the world remained at their positions to ensure air supply, and Peng Haiyan of China Eastern Airlines is one of them. This year marks the 42nd year of his career. After experiencing major events such as the Wenchuan Earthquake and Ebola outbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a critical trial during his last year of employment.


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Chinese outbound tourism expenditure (source: World Travel & Tourism Council - wttc.org)


As the commanding and coordinating center of airlines, the operation control center where Peng Haiyan works plays a vital role in ensuring operation safety and improving operation efficiency. With experience building up, not only was his team able to undertake 18 anti-epidemic charter flights in one day, but also setting a record for completing charter flights within 45 minutes. 


Thanks to the efforts of all social sectors, the global pandemic has been gradually curbed. China's National Day Holiday ushered in a peak season for tourism, stimulating more than 600 million trips and transporting a total of 13.26 million passengers by civil aviation. With solid progress in epidemic prevention and control and the gradual recovery of the market, a number of aviation companies are also accelerated product innovation. China Eastern launched the “Fly at Will” product, the first ticket package for unlimited domestic travels. People rushed to buy it as soon as the product was launched.


It is evident from the travel data that people have gradually regained their confidence for air travel. The emergence of popular products demonstrates the effectiveness of China’s efforts to fight against the pandemic and the everlasting responsibility and service improvement of aviation companies. According to the latest social responsibility report of China Eastern, the company is still committed to paving the “road for inflight anti-epidemic efforts" globally.


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As a prominent aviation company in China, China Eastern launched the world's first international anti-epidemic cooperation flight to transport medical experts and medical supplies to Rome and help Italy fight the pandemic. At the same time, it continued to deliver epidemic prevention supplies to France, Spain, the United States, South Korea, Japan, Thailand and other countries. By the middle of April, China Eastern had specifically launched 230 epidemic prevention charter flights, transported nearly 22,000 medical staff, and delivered more than 5,048 tons of medical relief materials worldwide. In addition, China Eastern Group also donated RMB 10 million and quantities of medical supplies to fulfill the social responsibility of large aviation enterprises through practical actions.


The social responsibility report of China Eastern also reveals that technologies are affecting all aspects of civil aviation work and services. A perfect flight deployment system and an effective operation control center can greatly improve the work efficiency and ensure the normal operation in case of epidemic outbreak and other emergencies. New navigation technologies have enabled aircraft to take off and land safely in low-visibility weather conditions such as heavy fog, and further ensured the punctuality of flights.


Besides, the report also mentioned the smart travel service launched by China Eastern last year. As the world's first airline company to promote "5G+AI" new technology, China Eastern developed a series of convenient applications such as check-in services with facial recognition, passive permanent electronic baggage tag and sign language service APP, which have strengthened the security of air travel amid the pandemic.


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The report also shows that in the implementation of the Green Sky Project Campaign, to continuously step up efforts in energy conservation and emission reduction, China Eastern invested nearly RMB 50 billion last year to introduce more new  environmental-friendly aircraft. Meanwhile, the company has optimized the energy conservation system, saving 195,500 tons of fuel for the whole year and reducing carbon emissions by about 610,000 tons. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges to the civil aviation industry, it has also offered the opportunity for civil aviation companies worldwide in playing an active role in fighting against the pandemic, facilitating technological innovation, promoting energy conservation and environment protection.


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