SCIO briefing on making every effort to ensure sound transportation services during 2023 Spring Festival
Beijing | 10 a.m. Jan. 6, 2023

The State Council Information Office (SCIO) held a press conference in Beijing on Friday about making every effort to ensure sound transportation services during 2023 Spring Festival.


Xu Chengguang, deputy director of the 2023 Spring Festival transportation special group and vice minister of transport

Cai Tuanjie, deputy director of the office of the 2023 Spring Festival transportation special group and director general of the Transportation Services Department of the Ministry of Transport

Wan Xiangdong, chief pilot of the Civil Aviation Administration of China

Chen Kai, deputy director general of the State Post Bureau

Huang Xin, director of the Passenger Transport Department of China Railway


Xing Huina, deputy director general of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and spokesperson of the SCIO

Read in Chinese


Xu Chengguang, deputy director of the 2023 Spring Festival Transportation Special Group and vice minister of transport

Chen Kai, deputy director of the State Post Bureau

Wan Xiangdong, chief pilot of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC)

Huang Xin, director of the Passenger Transport Department of China Railway

Cai Tuanjie, deputy director of the Office of the 2023 Spring Festival Transportation Special Group and director general of the Transport Service Department of the Ministry of Transport (MOT)


Xing Huina, deputy director general of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and SCIO spokesperson


Jan. 6, 2023

Xing Huina:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference held by the State Council Information Office (SCIO). Today, we are joined by Mr. Xu Chengguang, deputy director of the 2023 Spring Festival Transportation Special Group and vice minister of transport. Mr. Xu will brief you on the work to ensure services during the Spring Festival travel rush and take your questions. Also joining us today are Mr. Chen Kai, deputy director of the State Post Bureau; Mr. Wan Xiangdong, chief pilot of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC); Mr. Huang Xin, director of the Passenger Transport Department of China Railway; and Mr. Cai Tuanjie, deputy director of the Office of the 2023 Spring Festival Transportation Special Group and director general of the Transport Service Department of the Ministry of Transport (MOT).

Now, I'll give the floor to Mr. Xu Chengguang for a brief introduction.

Xu Chengguang:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning. It is my pleasure to meet with you here. To begin with, I would like to thank the friends from the media for their interest in the plans regarding the Spring Festival travel rush and their support for our work concerning transportation. Today, my colleagues, Mr. Chen, Mr. Wan, Mr. Huang, Mr. Cai, and I will brief you on the measures to ensure transportation services during the 2023 Spring Festival.

The Spring Festival travel rush in 2023 is the first of its kind since the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and also the first since China's COVID-19 response entered a new stage. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have attached great importance to it. The matter has drawn widespread attention from all sectors of society, and the people are looking forward to it. To ensure a smooth Spring Festival travel rush, we will follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, fully implement the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress, and put people and their lives first. We will better coordinate epidemic prevention and control measures with economic and social development. We will meet people's needs for a better travel experience and maintain normal economic and social order, regard them as our fundamental missions, and make every effort to ensure steady and orderly operation during the upcoming Spring Festival travel rush.

The Spring Festival travel rush this year will last for 40 days, running from Jan. 7 to Feb. 15. Compared with previous years, passenger flows and the pandemic situation have reached peak levels simultaneously in 2023, making the upcoming travel rush the most uncertain, complicated and challenging in recent years. In general, this year's Spring Festival travel rush has the following four features. First, passenger flows will increase significantly. As China has classified and also treated COVID-19 as a category B infectious disease, more people will engage in cross-regional travel at an accelerated pace. In addition, people's demand for returning to their hometowns during Chinese New Year, visiting friends and family, and traveling will be unleashed collectively. As a result, passenger flows during the upcoming Spring Festival will recover from a long-term low level and see rapid increase, while transportation organizations will operate at full capacity. According to preliminary analysis, around 2.095 billion passenger trips will be made during this year's Spring Festival travel rush, up 99.5% year on year, which will recover to 70.3% of the same period in 2019. In terms of the structure of passenger flows, it is estimated that family visits will account for 55% of the total passenger flows, work-related travel 24%, and tourism and business trips 10% each. As many universities and colleges started their winter vacations before the travel rush, students will account for a relatively small proportion of passengers compared with previous years. More people will choose to travel by driving, using intercity car-pooling services, and taking chartered buses . Estimates suggest that expressways nationwide will report an average daily flow of 26.2 million passenger cars, up 3.6% year on year. In terms of the times and places people will travel, it is expected that before the Spring Festival, the majority of people will travel from large cities to nearby cities and provinces that are major exporters of labor. As family visits and work-related travel are to overlap, passenger flows will report growth. After the Spring Festival, people will travel from major labor exporting provinces and small- and medium-sized cities to central cities. Passenger flows during this period will be relatively staggered and reach peaks on around Jan. 27 and Feb. 6. Second, the demand for freight transport will rise significantly. The Spring Festival travel rush in previous years has often seen an increase in passenger flows and decrease in freight transport. However, as the pandemic situation is set to reach peak levels during the upcoming Spring Festival, the freight volume of all sorts of medical supplies and preventative materials, daily necessities for the holidays, and key materials such as energy and food for winter and spring will surge. In particular, in small- and medium-sized cities and rural regions with poor logistics infrastructure, parcel delivery may be delayed in certain areas as front-line delivery workers will return to their hometowns and possible large-scale infections will cause personnel shortages. Therefore, we will face mounting pressure in coordinating passenger flow with freight transport during the Spring Festival travel rush and ensuring the smooth operation of both. Third, front-line workers are at a greater risk of infection. The Spring Festival travel rush will see intensive passenger flow and frequent freight transport. As such highly-efficient transport activities overlap with the peak of the pandemic, the risk of large-scale infection among front-line transportation workers will surge, and there will be greater pressure to ensure unimpeded services of passenger flows and freight transport. Fourth, risks and hidden dangers concerning workplace safety will increase. Since 2020, due to the repeated impact of the pandemic, China's transport sector has been facing a complicated situation where the risks of traffic safety and pandemic-related incidents intertwined. Particularly, the sector has been operating at a low capacity for a long period; vehicles have either been out of service or operating at a low capacity for a long time; the working skills of employees in the field have been getting rusty; and there are often more traffic accidents around Chinese New Year due to frequent severe weather conditions such as low temperatures, cold fronts, rain, snow and sleet. All of these pose severe challenges to workplace safety. In order to strengthen the management of workplace safety, prevent major accidents, effectively respond to emergencies and ensure people's safe traveling experience, all levels of the transportation sector should make more greater efforts.

It is worth noting that this year's Spring Festival travel rush is marked by many uncertainties, making it difficult to rely on past experience to analyze and assess the situation according to established rules. The current projections on the total volume, composition, and direction of passenger flow are based on current circumstances. They are intended to consider worst-case scenarios, make more solid preparations, and provide better services in accordance with bottom-line thinking. This will allow us to be fully prepared for epidemic prevention and control and transport service guarantees during the Spring Festival travel rush. We will closely track the situation, continuously study and assess it, and promptly optimize and adjust our measures to ensure sound transportation services during the Spring Festival.

Facing these challenges and pressures, the Party Central Committee and the State Council have put forward three precise requirements of "meeting the travel needs of the people, reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and providing safe and convenient services." Leading comrades of the Central Committee have repeatedly issued important instructions and made clear requirements. Transport departments at all levels have made adequate preparations in accordance with the "highest standards, strictest requirements, and most practical measures." At the national level, with the approval of the State Council joint prevention and control mechanism, a special task force on Spring Festival travel rush was set up under the State Council joint prevention and control mechanism, led by the MOT and involving 16 ministries and units. A series of documents have been issued, including the Overall Work Plan for Epidemic Prevention and Control and Transportation Service Guarantee during the 2023 Spring Festival Travel Rush. In addition, a series of specific measures have been formulated, such as guidelines for epidemic prevention and control during the Spring Festival travel rush. A national television and telephone conference was held to systematically deploy the work. Regions and relevant departments have also made specific arrangements according to the deployment of the Spring Festival travel rush task force. At present, all preparations are basically in place.

The annual Spring Festival travel rush is always a big test for transport authorities, but this year's "exam" may prove even more challenging. General Secretary Xi Jinping said that when faced with major and difficult tasks, one's sense of responsibility and bravery in taking on the challenge is tested. All transportation workers fully understand the extreme importance of doing a good job in ensuring sound transportation services during the Spring Festival this year. We consider providing transportation services during this year's Spring Festival as an important test for implementing the spirit of the 20th CPC National Congress. To ensure that people travel safely and successfully during the Spring Festival, we will utilize our maximum capacity and provide the best services and conditions to create a safe, healthy, convenient, and comfortable transportation experience. We will do our utmost to ensure that the "first" and "last" kilometers of the journey home are smooth and organized, with a sense of responsibility to work hard for the benefit of the public and with a determination to collaborate and support each other. In this way, we aim to contribute to a peaceful and joyful Spring Festival for the people and to give a satisfactory answer to the Party and the people.

That's all for my introduction! Now, my colleagues and I would like to take your questions. Thank you!


Xing Huina:

Thank you for your introduction, Vice Minister Xu Chengguang. Now we will open the floor for questions. Please identify the media outlet you represent before raising a question.

China Media Group: 

The 2023 Spring Festival travel rush kicks off tomorrow. Just now, the spokesperson mentioned that this year's Spring Festival travel rush will see a significant increase in passenger flow. Could you provide us with a more specific forecast? Additionally, what measures has the transportation department put in place to ensure smooth and organized travel for the public? Thank you.

Xu Chengguang:

Thanks for the questions. In an earlier briefing, I explained the total amount of passenger traffic and their possible destinations. We predict massive growth in passenger traffic during this year's Spring Festival travel rush, nearly double that of the previous year. However, passenger traffic will only reach 70% of what it was in 2019. In the first place, I want to say that we fully consider the anticipated demands of public transport, maintain bottom-line thinking, and consider extreme scenarios such as huge passenger traffic, large numbers of infections among transportation workers, and a high frequency of safety accidents. We are fully prepared according to the three principles of full preparation, allocation according to demands, and timely responses. We have the ability to provide the public with adequate transportation services. There are four specific measures:

First, we will strictly implement relevant policies. We will follow the related policies and regulations of the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council and carry out measures to optimize pandemic prevention and control and manage COVID-19 as a Class B infectious disease, through well-conceived and precise approaches. We are committed to implementing pandemic prevention and control policies in the railway, road, waterway, civil aviation, and post and delivery sectors to enhance the protection of passengers and people working in such sectors. The special task force set up for the Spring Festival travel rush will coordinate member entities to strengthen guidance and planning. We will explore policies regarding flexible and staggered holidays to relieve the congestion of people visiting families and reduce concentrated travel pressure. For the movement of migrant workers, we will determine a reasonable timetable for temporarily stopping work before the holiday and resuming work afterward for workers to travel home and back to work at various times. For the movement of students, we will adjust and optimize holiday arrangements and guide students to return to school at staggered intervals to avoid heavy traffic. For the movement of tourists, we will set a reasonable ceiling for tourist numbers to ensure orderly movement. 

Second, we will strengthen the coordination of transport capabilities. We will take full advantage of comprehensive transportation, enhance the effective linkage of different transportation modes, and enhance coordination regarding operating time, organization and arrangement of traffic capacity. We will try our best to handle the dispersal of large passenger flows to smooth their "last mile" of travel. For migrant workers and students, who tend to travel at similar times, we will provide team service and door-to-door service to ensure the orderly movement of workers and staggered travel time of students. If conditions allow, point-to-point chartered vehicle services will be arranged. To address people's travel demands for visiting family and shopping at fairs in rural areas, shifts will be increased for passenger routes between urban and rural areas. Operating hours will be extended, and reservation services will be improved. We will do more to ensure transportation services are provided.

Third, we will optimize passenger services. To improve services for the Spring Festival travel rush, we will work hard to refine the travel experience of the public. Information sharing and capacity coordination between different transportation modes will be enhanced to improve passenger transfer efficiency. Ticket services will also be upgraded, and information about passenger transport will be released via multiple channels and in a timely manner. The pre-ticketing service will be available in advance for passengers so they may arrange travel at staggered intervals. We will assess passenger traffic according to changes, increase ticket windows, self-service terminals and security lanes in a timely manner, and promote measures such as online ticketing, e-ticket, and self-service ticket checking to expand paperless and non-contact services. We will improve barrier-free facilities and offer necessary help to passengers in need, including elderly people, children, sick people, people with disabilities and pregnant women. 

Fourth, we will strengthen services for managing the road network. We will reinforce the monitoring of main road networks and city roads, pay close attention to traffic on road networks near provincial boundaries, in popular cities and around important scenic areas, and promptly release information about road conditions and traffic congestion. We will guide drivers to choose their routes, travel time and destinations rationally to avoid peak traffic. We will ensure the operation of expressways and service areas, roads, waterways and locks, and commercial passenger transport services, and ensure services such as refueling, battery charging, dining and restrooms at service areas. 

And in the second place, although the pandemic is not over yet, and some places are still experiencing peak infection levels, many people still wish to return home for the Spring Festival to visit relatives and friends. However, we strongly encourage everyone to make reasonable travel decisions considering their own personal circumstances and those of their family members. This is particularly important for elderly individuals with underlying health conditions and families with expectant mothers, infants and children, as they should minimize travel to lower the risk of infection during the journey for themselves and their family members. People using public transport to travel home for the Spring Festival should strengthen self-protection, wear masks throughout the journey, ensure personal hygiene, and actively avoid traveling while still having symptoms. Thank you.


What is the CAAC's forecast for civil aviation transport during this year's Spring Festival travel rush? What preparations have been made to guarantee civil aviation services during the travel rush?

Wan Xiangdong:

Thank you for your question. As the first travel rush after China optimized its virus prevention policies and the downgrading of the management of COVID-19 from Class A to Class B, it is expected that the number of passengers traveling by civil aviation will increase significantly. During the Spring Festival travel rush, civil aviation departments nationwide will schedule 11,000 passenger flights on average per day, which is about 73% of that during the 2019 Spring Festival travel rush. It is expected that the overall passenger flow will exhibit characteristics of staggered travel for school holidays and going back to school, for returning home and getting back to work, and for trips and other journeys. There will still be peak passenger levels around the Spring Festival holiday and after the Lantern Festival. Based on current ticket bookings for the Spring Festival travel rush, the peak appears from Jan. 18 (the 27th day of the 12th lunar month) to Jan. 20 (the 29th day of the 12th lunar month). Given the booking volume, air routes, including Beijing to Sanya, Shanghai to Beijing, Beijing to Haikou, Shenzhen to Kunming, Shenzhen to Chongqing, Hangzhou to Kunming and Shenzhen to Chengdu, rank among the top.

On the premise of ensuring safety, the CAAC actively guides airlines to arrange flight plans in a rational and well-conceived manner to ensure transport capacity and guarantee resources.

First, we support adding domestic flights during the Spring Festival travel rush and encourage airlines to deploy capacity more flexibly. This will accommodate passenger travel to popular destinations and along popular routes, such as routes from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other cities to Sanya, Haikou, Chengdu and Chongqing.

Second, we require all airports to strengthen contact with Spring Festival travel agencies of local governments, and inform them in advance of information, including arrival and departure flights at night and passenger volume, so that they can actively cooperate to ensure a smooth connection with the "last-mile" in urban traffic. As of Jan. 5, on top of regular domestic passenger flights, 10,313 domestic flights had been approved to be added during the Spring Festival travel rush, including 3,459 flights along routes involving Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, accounting for 33.5% of the total added domestic flights. This will effectively meet passengers' travel needs to popular places and along popular routes.

In terms of guaranteeing aviation services, all civil aviation departments will continue to follow the people-centered development philosophy and implement the work requirements of providing earnest services. The goal is to improve people's sense of security, gain and happiness for civil aviation services and ensure passenger services during the Spring Festival travel rush.

First, we will fully consider subjective and objective factors such as the market and weather and further optimize flight schedules, to effectively reduce the inconvenience caused to passengers by flight cancellations and delays.

Second, we will ensure epidemic prevention and control, guide passenger flow, reduce passenger gatherings, and try our best to provide non-contact services to passengers. We have tested and monitored the health conditions of front-line employees, and cleaned, disinfected and ventilated key places to reduce infection risks for passengers, so as to ensure safe and sound trips for them.

Third, we will ensure all aspects of service are properly attended to both onboard and on the ground. Specific focus will be given to passengers with special needs, including those with disabilities, the elderly, and unaccompanied children, in order to create a civilized, warm and harmonious travel environment.

Fourth, we will increase the answering rate of customer service calls by taking measures like increasing hotlines and service personnel to promptly handle passengers' various service demands. Thank you.


China Transport News:

Railways play an important role in the Spring Festival travel rush every year. What new measures will the railway authorities adopt this year? Thank you.

Huang Xin:

Thank you for your question. As regards this year's travel rush, China Railway will conscientiously implement the relevant deployments and requirements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on the work of the Spring Festival travel rush, continue to adhere to the people-centered development philosophy, take better-coordinated steps to respond to COVID-19 and the travel rush, and better coordinate development and security. We will optimize the train operation plan for the Spring Festival travel peak season, and accurately implement the epidemic prevention and control measures. On the basis of reviewing good practices from the past, we will launch a series of measures to help people in different links of purchasing tickets, waiting and boarding, so as to ensure safe, orderly and warm Spring Festival travels, and provide passengers with a better travel experience.

In terms of capacity arrangement, we will make scientific and precise arrangements. We will coordinate and make good use of new lines and new stations opened last year, as well as newly operated advanced equipment such as Fuxing bullet trains, to enhance the overall function of the rail network and improve passenger capacity. Following the principles of "sufficient arrangements, on-demand start, quick response and emergency preparedness," we will scientifically arrange the train operation schedule.

In terms of orderly travel, it is necessary to create a healthy and safe travel environment for passengers. We will conscientiously implement various measures for COVID-19 prevention and control and security management, strengthen the organization of passenger flows at stations, strictly control the occupancy rate of trains, and guide passengers to enter stations and wait for trains in an orderly manner, and maintain a safe distance. We will strengthen ventilation and disinfection in key places to maintain a good environment in trains and stations, actively promote contactless services, strengthen the promotion of travel health tips, improve employee health management, and guide passengers to wear masks throughout the entirety of their journeys to enhance their own health protection.

In terms of station and train services, we will focus on introducing measures to improve convenience for passengers in three aspects. First, we will improve ticket purchasing services. We will further optimize the 12306 online ticket purchasing system, expand the application of electronic tickets, and fully implement digital management in the links of excess fare payment at stations and trains. Second, we will no longer set time requirements for student discount tickets. Students can purchase four one-way discount tickets at any time in each school year, which are convenient for them to use at any time throughout the year. Third, if a passenger refunds a ticket due to railway liability or force majeure, all connecting tickets can be refunded at the same time, and the refund fee will be waived. Passengers will no longer be charged a service fee for excess fares or changing tickets. Meanwhile, we will expand the scope of trains with discounted fares in the non-peak direction.

Regarding travel information services, we will introduce code scanning services on more than 3,200 high-speed trains. Passengers can scan the code on their armrest to check travel service information related to arrival and departure time, train locations, trains available for transfer, and transportation of other vehicles. They can also buy food and beverages, pay for ticket extensions, upgrade their seats and search for lost belongings. Meanwhile, we will improve the message notification mechanism of 12306 to ensure that passengers who have booked tickets via 12306 and logged accurate contact information receive updates about the suspension of trains and information changes. This will enable them to get up-to-date information about train operations and make better travel arrangements. 

In terms of transfer services, passengers are particularly concerned about transfer information during the Spring Festival travel rush. The number of stations where intra-station transfers are available has increased from 80 to 100. We will also improve service facilities and upgrade signposts to improve transfer efficiency and provide convenience for passengers during the Spring Festival travel rush. Thank you. 


China Daily:

We noticed that delivery delays and congestion occurred in many places some time ago. What measures has the State Post Bureau taken to respond to this and what is the specific situation like now? Thank you. 

Chen Kai:

Thank you for your questions. As you mentioned in your questions, couriers in some cities have been getting infected since mid-December last year. Some distribution centers and outlets could not operate normally due to labor shortages, which affected parcel handling and delivery. At the same time, due to the decline in circulation efficiency, the delivery efficiency of some outlets and related terminals was affected, resulting in partial backlogs. As we all know, the courier sector is a typical network economy. If one link is affected, it will spread to the whole network. We noticed that delivery was slow some time ago. In response to this, the State Post Bureau has paid close attention, made all-out efforts to remove obstacles in the postal and courier sector and focused on daily scheduling, careful deployment and smoothing terminal circulation to ensure the efficient operation of the postal express network. We have done our work in the following four aspects:

First, we strengthened network operation guarantees. We urged delivery firms to assume their social responsibility, asking them to minimize service interruptions caused by out-of-service outlets and minimize operational disruption due to the reduced efficiency of front-end collection to ensure the smooth running of the postal express network to the greatest extent. Delivery enterprises have also formulated work programs and emergency plans according to epidemic developments specific to different regions and stages to allocate staff scientifically and ensure the regular operation of staff on duty to the maximum extent. 

Second, we ramped up efforts to replenish the workforce. We guided delivery enterprises to ensure consignment in key areas, in key links, and of essential materials. They increased employee attendance and strove to maintain the service capacity through regional adjustment, temporary reassignment of management personnel, recruitment of temporary workers, and speeding up the return to work. 

Third, we ensured the health and safety of delivery workers. We have guided local postal administrations to actively seek resources from local governments to provide greater support to the industry in terms of vaccines, antigen test kits, medicines, and N95 masks. We've also instructed them to speed up distribution to ensure the effective protection of frontline express delivery workers. Localities like Shanghai and Jiangsu have offered subsidies to those on duty on the frontline.

Fourth, we accelerated the handling of backlogged packages. We have urged relevant companies to improve resource allocation, coordinate personnel, and speed up the handling of backlogs, while making sound preparations for potential package increases. We have guided company headquarters to formulate incentive policies to support terminal outlets in speeding up package flow. We have also encouraged terminal outlets to increase working capacity and effectively handle backlogged packages. These policies include increasing working efficiency, optimizing delivery routes, extending service time, and offering delivery services during night hours.

We have seen that, through continuous efforts in the previous stage, 94.9% of delivery workers nationwide had resumed work as of yesterday, the number of backlogged packages had sharply dropped, and express delivery services had effectively resumed. In the first five days of this year, the daily express delivery volume reached 370 million packages on average, up 16.7% compared with the same period last year. Going forward, the State Post Bureau will continue to mobilize the whole industry to consolidate work achievements and strengthen the foundation for stable industrial operation, do its best to ensure smooth delivery, and effectively meet the needs of the people for delivery services.

We will further urge relevant enterprises to increase their package handling efficiency according to the changing epidemic situation in different regions, and urge companies to increase their efforts to properly handle complaints and appeals and effectively resolve related problems and disputes, so as to meet the people's needs for delivery services. Thank you.


Phoenix TV:

My question is for the Civil Aviation Administration. What are the arrangements for flights to and from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan during the Spring Festival travel rush? Is there going to be a significant increase? Thank you.

Wan Xiangdong:

Thank you for your questions. The Civil Aviation Administration has always cared for air routes to and from Hong Kong and Macao as well as cross-Strait flights and supported airlines in opening air routes and flights to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan in accordance with the air transport arrangement between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao as well as the cross-Strait air transport agreement.

In 2022, the Civil Aviation Administration issued or renewed 16 Hong Kong air operating licenses and three Macao air operating licenses. As of Jan. 5, the Civil Aviation Administration had approved a plan for 13,230 passenger flights to and from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan during the Spring Festival travel rush, involving 186 air routes and 47 waypoints on the mainland. Twenty-eight airlines will arrange 2,331 passenger flights every week.

After Jan. 8, airlines will independently and dynamically optimize the arrangement for passenger flights to and from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan based on the same principles as international ones — safety first, market-oriented, and special needs prioritized. Take Shanghai Pudong International Airport as an example. According to the flight scheduling of various airlines operating at the airport, from Jan. 8 to 31, there will be 30 daily passenger flights to and from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan taking off or landing at the airport. Among them, 10 are Hong Kong flights, eight are Taiwan flights, and 12 are Macao flights, all showing a significant increase. As market demand increases over time, we believe the number of flights will increase further. Thank you.


Cover News:

It is expected that this year will see an increase in passenger flows compared to previous years. How will the transport authorities ensure the safety of passengers and guarantee emergency responses to avoid major traffic accidents? Thank you.

Cai Tuanjie:

Thank you for your question. Safety has always been our top priority during the Spring Festival travel rush. We can have a peaceful Spring Festival only if we do an excellent job of providing security. This year, we face significant challenges in conducting safety inspections for the travel rush due to multiple factors, including increasing passenger and cargo flows, the changing epidemic situation and extreme weather. We have already made systematic arrangements for ensuring safety and emergency responses for the travel rush. Next, we will guide local governments to pay close attention to passenger and cargo flows, the weather and the epidemic situation. We will also direct them to focus on core elements such as passengers, vehicles and roads. Multiple efforts will be made to guide local governments to take concrete steps to fully secure a safe Spring Festival travel season. 

First, we will strengthen the inspection and maintenance of facilities and equipment. Some of our facilities and equipment have been operating at low capacity, leading to an increased risk of safety hazards. We will urge transportation companies to fully implement all safety production requirements and conduct comprehensive inspection and maintenance on facilities and equipment planned to be used during the Spring Festival travel season, to ensure they are in good technical condition. We will prevent problematic facilities and equipment from operating.

Second, we will strengthen our efforts to raise safety awareness among employees. Some of our employees' skills have become rusty due to the low workload. We will guide transportation companies to conduct targeted training and safety education for all employees engaged in the Spring Festival travel season, especially drivers, to enhance their awareness of safe driving. We must conduct strict checks on drivers to ensure they can perform their work duties safely. If drivers have symptoms such as a fever or are unable to work due to physical conditions, they should not be made to work. We should ensure that employees are fit for duty and that vehicles are fit for operation.

Third, we will strengthen the dynamic monitoring of transportation vehicles. We will monitor and manage tourist buses, passenger buses, vehicles transporting dangerous goods, and high-speed ferries during their operation, and promptly discover and address violations of laws and regulations, including speeding and driving while tired. We will urge transportation companies to pay close attention to weather changes and road traffic conditions, and promptly adjust or suspend transportation plans for those not meeting safe traffic requirements. We strictly prohibit dangerous operations and transportation.

Fourth, we will strengthen efforts to ensure safety on the road network. We will guide local governments to strengthen the monitoring of key road sections and road networks and conduct risk assessments on road sections such as large and long bridges and tunnels, as well as long, continuous downhill slopes, to address safety hazards in a timely manner. We will release information on weather and traffic control to facilitate the public in making travel plans. Suppose there are extreme weather events, such as cold waves, freezing rain and snow, and dense fog. In that case, we will publish weather warnings and conduct emergency responses, as well as carry out snow removal and deicing work in a timely manner, to recover road conditions as soon as possible. We will step up efforts to provide health services for passengers. We encourage passenger hubs, highway service areas, "driver's homes," and other places where conditions permit to set up "health stations" and health service points to provide drivers and passengers of private cars, passenger buses and cargo trucks with medicine and separate areas for rest. It is particularly important to mention that we do not encourage drivers with symptoms to get behind the wheel. If they have symptoms during their work, they need to rest and get medicine at the nearest service area. It is also advisable to avoid driving after taking medication and only return to work after resting to ensure safety.

Fifth, we will step up our duties and emergency response capabilities. During the Spring Festival travel rush, transportation departments at all levels will strictly implement the 24-hour duty plan with both leaders and assigned persons on duty to closely monitor the situation of the travel rush. In case of emergencies like adverse weather and traffic congestion, we will organize, coordinate and direct the emergency response in time to ensure smooth and orderly progress during the Spring Festival travel season. When people are stranded, hot water, food and necessary health services will be provided in time to enhance their sense of fulfillment regarding Spring Festival travel services.

During the Spring Festival travel season, many people from rural areas travel to return home, visit relatives and friends, and go to fairs. We will strengthen transport capacity and safety supervision. We will work with related departments to strengthen law enforcement supervision by focusing on rural passenger transport routes, passenger terminals and ferry ports. Here, I'd like to remind travelers to enhance their awareness of self-protection and safe travel. It is suggested to travel in legal vehicles, reject vehicles with passengers beyond the seating capacity, fasten seat belts, resolutely eliminate driving a vehicle without a license plate or driver's license, and avoid drunk driving to prevent and curb safety accidents.

Safety work is a journey to which there's no end. Let's work together to ensure a safe, smooth and orderly Spring Festival travel season so everyone can have a happy and peaceful Spring Festival. Thank you!


Hong Kong Bauhinia Magazine:

What progress has been made to ensure a smooth flow of logistics during the Spring Festival travel season? What efforts will be made to ensure efficient and orderly transportation of medical and livelihood supplies? Thank you.

Xu Chengguang:

Thanks for your questions. I will answer them.

For this year's Spring Festival travel rush, we have made full preparations for organizing the passenger transport and ensuring the smooth flow of transport and logistics, which will be coordinated and managed respectively by the Spring Festival travel season work team under the State Council inter-agency task force for COVID-19 response and the office of the leading group for the smooth flow of logistics under the State Council. In terms of transport and logistics, transportation arteries and logistics microcirculation in China are generally smooth. Key logistics hubs are running steadily. Major logistics indicators are stable and improving. The transportation of key supplies is safe and orderly. We are fully capable of meeting the transportation needs of supplies.

But at the same time, the public demand for medical supplies such as COVID-19 medicines, antigen detection reagents, masks and vaccines has surged recently. Given this situation, the office of the leading group for the smooth flow of logistics under the State Council, which considers it a priority, is strengthening overall deployment and coordination and sparing no effort to ensure the smooth transportation of medical supplies.

First, we need to connect supply and demand to ensure a timely response to demand. We will track the epidemic changes, monitor the transportation needs of key medical supplies across the country, and urge and guide local transport authorities to contact the 286 key enterprises ensuring medical supplies designated by the medical supplies group under the State Council inter-agency task force for COVID-19 response, taking the initiative to provide them with the needed services and make differentiated policies. For example, we have guided SF Express Group and China Post Group to customize their logistics plans to guarantee the daily transportation of 16,000 orders of Lianhua Qingwen capsules produced by Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical, achieving "zero backlogs" in medical transportation and distribution. We have also promptly coordinated and solved the transportation problems of medical supplies for Fengyuan Pharmaceutical in Anhui and Fenhe Pharmaceutical in Shanxi.

The second is to ensure efficient traffic and smooth and orderly logistics. The transportation of medical materials requires a higher level of timeliness and precision than that of general materials. We have set up a daily scheduling system to enhance dispatching in key provinces and key logistics enterprises, ensuring the timely delivery of medical supplies. We will strictly implement the policy of giving priority to free passage on expressways for vehicles transporting COVID-19 vaccines to ensure safe and efficient deliveries.

The third is to smooth the end circulation to ensure timely delivery of materials. In some cities, a shortage of front-line couriers has caused poor delivery at the end of logistics. We have solved such problems as quickly as we can. We immediately carried out dispatch and deployment, urged timely recruitment of delivery personnel, encouraged businesses to open as many outlets as possible, prioritized the delivery of backlogged medical and prevention and control supplies, and worked hard to smooth the final delivery of medical materials.

Next, we will continue to focus on the transportation needs of medical supplies, promote the connection between supply and demand, ensure efficient passage, smooth the final delivery stage, and ensure efficient and orderly transportation of key materials. First, we will make every effort to meet the demands of transporting medical materials. We will guide key logistics enterprises to strengthen coordination with medical supplies production, operation and distribution enterprises to ensure timely and full response to transportation needs for medical supplies. Second, we will strengthen the transportation organization and capacity scheduling. We will guide large key logistics and transportation enterprises to formulate support plans for transporting medical supplies during the Spring Festival holiday, and encourage front-line employees to continue to work during the holiday by arranging staff rotation and off-peak leave, and issuing subsidies, overtime pay and other measures, so as to ensure that the transportation of medical materials is not interrupted during the holiday. Third, we will make every effort to smooth the final delivery service network. We will give full play to the role of large key postal express enterprises, and guide them to improve their contingency plans during the holiday. We will strengthen regional labor deployment, and pay close attention to the staffing of employees in small and medium-sized cities and rural areas. With these efforts, we will ensure the uninterrupted transportation of medical supplies during the Spring Festival travel rush.

Transportation and logistics are linked to people's livelihoods and are related to the overall stability of growth, employment and prices. While ensuring transportation services for key medical supplies, we will also continue to ensure the smooth flow of the "main artery" and "microcirculation." We will coordinate the transportation of key materials like energy and grain, and daily necessities like vegetables, fruit, meat, poultry, eggs and milk this winter and spring, so as to better serve the overall situation of economic and social development and ensure people's living needs and a warm winter.

Here, I would again like to remind drivers that if they encounter any obstacles during transportation, or if relevant supply enterprises face difficulties in logistics and transportation, they are welcome to call the local or national hotlines. We will coordinate services to see that their difficulties are addressed.


The Beijing News:

This year, some newly built railways will face the big test of the Spring Festival travel rush. What preparations have railway departments made? Can China's current railway capacity meet the demands of the Spring Festival travel rush this year? Thank you.

Huang Xin:

Thank you for your questions. This year's Spring Festival travel rush is the first after the central government optimized and adjusted the pandemic prevention policies, as pandemic prevention and control entered a new stage. Therefore, the population's travel demands may change significantly compared to previous years. The pre-sale of train tickets for the 2023 Spring Festival period started on Dec. 24, 2022. Looking at current ticket bookings, we have seen that travel demand in all aspects has increased significantly, and railway passenger flows are gradually recovering.

To properly ensure capacity for the Spring Festival travel rush, I mentioned earlier that we adhere to the principles of "adequate arrangement, on-demand activation, rapid response, and emergency preparedness," and the train operating plan has been arranged accordingly for the holiday travel rush. A daily maximum of 6,077 pairs of passenger trains will be put into operation during peak days before the holiday, with a seating capacity of 9.04 million passengers. Moreover, there will be a maximum of 6,107 pairs of trains per day after the holiday, with a seating capacity of 9.14 million people. Maximum seating capacity has increased by 11% compared with the same period in 2019, enabling us to better meet the travel demands of passengers during the Spring Festival travel rush. Regarding transportation capacity, we have prepared in three ways.

First, we will make good use of new lines, stations and equipment. Last year, 4,100 kilometers of new railway lines were put into operation nationwide, including 2,082 kilometers of high-speed railway. The accessibility and coverage of the railway network were further improved. During the Spring Festival travel rush, we will give full play to the advantages of our high-speed railway network. We will effectively use new lines and stations such as the Zhengzhou-Chongqing High-speed Railway, the Huzhou-Hangzhou High-speed Railway, the Yinchuan-Lanzhou High-speed Railway, the Beijing-Tangshan Intercity Railway, the new Chengdu-Kunming Railway, and Beijing Fengtai Railway Station, and advanced equipment such as the new Fuxing EMU trains. We will also make effective use of the 350-kilometer-per-hour speed achieved by the Beijing-Wuhan section of the Beijing-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway, enabling us to enhance efficiency and improve capacity for the Spring Festival travel rush.

Second, we will expand transportation capacity in key regions and times. Before the festival, 1,623.5 pairs of direct passenger trains will run daily in the areas with concentrated passenger flows, including Beijing, the Shanghai-Nanjing-Hangzhou region, and the Guangzhou-Shenzhen region, a year-on-year increase of 34.5 pairs. Meanwhile, 222 pairs of high-speed trains will run every night, a year-on-year increase of 25 pairs. After the holiday, 814.5 pairs of direct passenger trains will run daily in the cities of Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan and Nanchang, and Hunan province and other areas with concentrated passenger flows, a year-on-year increase of 18 pairs. Moreover, 135 pairs of high-speed trains will run each night, a year-on-year increase of 14 pairs. At the same time, we will maintain the necessary operation scale of normal-speed passenger trains, continue to run slow trains for public welfare, and ensure the travel needs of people in remote areas.

Third, we will establish an emergency response mechanism for unexpected passenger flows. We will analyze the patterns of passenger travel, study and assess the changing trend of passenger flows, adjust transport capacity at different stages, and achieve a good balance between transport capacity and demand according to pre-sale and waiting list data from ticket reservation website According to current ticket bookings, before the festival, the transportation capacity are relatively short for those traveling from the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta to the central and southwest regions. Therefore, we will adjust and supplement transportation capacity to meet the travel needs of passengers as much as possible. In order to cope with unexpected passenger flows, a certain number of EMUs and crew members will be on standby in major railway hubs for immediate deployment, ensuring we meet the travel demands of passengers. Thank you.


Beijing Youth Daily:

Just now, the State Post Bureau discussed the slowdown in express delivery services and the backlog of parcels that occurred a while ago. The Spring Festival is the peak season for people to return to their hometowns and travel; it is also the offseason for the courier industry. Can you judge whether there will be a shortage of couriers and a slowdown in express delivery services in the next stage? Are there any solutions? Thank you.

Chen Kai:

Thank you for your questions. During the Spring Festival, as many people return to their hometowns to celebrate the Lunar New Year or travel, people's need for express delivery services will significantly decline. According to the data of the past two years, the average business volume per day in the seven days of Spring Festivals accounts for about 15% of the average daily business volume of whole year in 2021 and 2022. It can be said that the Spring Festival is the offseason for the courier industry. Despite that, we hold that currently, it is a critical period for the optimization of epidemic prevention and control, and people are still in urgent need of delivery of medicines and materials for epidemic prevention and control and basic living. Therefore, for some time to come, especially during the Spring Festival, ensuring delivery services is of great significance for better coordination between epidemic prevention and control and serving economic and social development in the new situation. Taking that into consideration, the State Post Bureau has specifically formulated the work plan for the postal and courier industry on safeguarding delivery services during the 2023 Spring Festival. It has made special arrangements concerning the operation of the industry during the Spring Festival, mainly including the following four aspects:

First, the order of postal delivery services will be maintained. We will effectively play the role of the market and urge postal enterprises to keep providing stable universal postal services. We will guide major brand express delivery enterprises to make reasonable service commitments tailored to the actual delivery needs of different regions, issue the arrangements of services during the Spring Festival in advance, coordinate the transport capacity of the entire network, and arrange a necessary number of outlets and workers to ensure the effective operation of the service network of their brands.

Second, the delivery service for the "Lunar New Year's Shopping Festival" will be guaranteed. This year we will continue to work with the Ministry of Commerce and other departments to organize the Online Lunar New Year's Shopping Festival activity. We will guide the enterprises to make reasonable arrangements for production and operation during the holiday, promptly release the service arrangements to the public, and strictly act upon its announcements and commitments. We will urge enterprises to strengthen communication with upstream e-commerce enterprises to make a well-informed prediction about changes in the needs for services during the Lunar New Year's Shopping Festival and the Spring Festival and make reasonable arrangements for human resources and transport capacity to ensure the enterprises' regular operation.

As I have mentioned, in the first five days of this year, the business volume of express delivery nationwide has reached 1.89 billion pieces, providing support for the online retail sales of physical goods of more than 160 billion yuan. It can be said that the coordination between commodity circulation and express delivery and logistics plays an active role in stabilizing consumption.

Third, the need for delivery of medical supplies, including medicines, will be guaranteed. Together with the Ministry of Commerce, we jointly issued the notice on jointly guaranteeing the supply and delivery of medical supplies, guiding for delivery enterprises to make special marks on medical supplies, strengthen guarantees and give priority to its delivery to meet people's urgent needs for the delivery of medicines and other medical supplies. 

Fourth, practical measures will be taken to safeguard couriers' legitimate rights and interests. I believe you all remember that on Feb. 1, 2019, General Secretary Xi Jinping visited couriers at Shitou Hutong in Qianmen, Beijing. He said affectionately that couriers work really hard, getting up early and returning home late at night, making deliveries in all weathers, and getting even busier at holidays, and working the hardest just like busy bees to bring convenience to our life. We will fully implement the important instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping and pay visits to couriers during the Spring Festival. We will urge delivery enterprises to coordinate the arrangement of rest and leave for those who work during the holiday and implement off-peak vacations or allow them to take their days off later. Couriers who work during the holiday should enjoy due overtime payments under the relevant laws, and subsidies to enterprises that maintain stable employee numbers will be ensured to guarantee their living.

Based on the current conditions, many enterprises have recently issued their operation plans during the Spring Festival, specifying the commitments of their brands to ensure services during the Spring Festival. We will further urge enterprises to fully implement their commitments and make serious efforts to ensure the quality of delivery services during the Spring Festival. Thank you.


Xing Huina:

Due to time constraints, we will have one last question.

Nanfang Metropolis Daily:

As the huge human migration involving 2 billion trips approaches, how will China respond to the challenges after having optimized the epidemic control management during the Spring Festival travel rush? What specific measures will be taken? Thank you.

Cai Tuanjie:

Thank you to the reporter. The epidemic prevention and control work plays a crucial role in ensuring transportation services during this year's Spring Festival. During the Spring Festival travel rush, the high flow of people and goods and extensive social activities increases the risk of infection. Based on these conditions and combined with the implementation of the measures adopted by China to treat COVID-19 as a Category B disease, the Spring Festival Transportation Special Group has issued the Guidelines on Epidemic Prevention and Control During the Spring Festival Travel Rush and Guidelines on Travel Services During the Spring Festival Travel Rush. We will guide regions to strengthen whole-chain management according to relevant requirements and documents, urge employees in the transportation industry to carry out effective and detailed implementation of epidemic control measures and guide the public to take personal protection measures, contributing to the effective and steady transition of the epidemic development and ensuring the smooth and orderly operation of transportation services during the Spring Festival. 

First, the organization and guidance of passenger flow will be enhanced. We will urge operators to strengthen disinfection and ventilation of airports and transportation hubs. Passenger flow will be organized in a better way. Passengers will be guided to form lines in key places including entrances, ticket windows, automatic ticket machines, security check lanes, and check-in gates. If conditions allow, passengers will be guided to maintain their distance in waiting rooms and sit apart from each other. Transport capacity will be increased in a timely manner for lines with large passenger flow to reduce gatherings.

Second, education programs will be conducted to raise public awareness of epidemic prevention when traveling. Everyone should be responsible for their own health. Here we would like to recommend that the public reduce travel to regions with high infection rates and people from these regions should also reduce travel and avoid traveling when they have symptoms. People should try not to take public transportation if they have not ruled out the risk of having been infected or when displaying symptoms such as fever. During their journey, passengers should increase their awareness of self-protection and strengthen personal protection throughout the entire trip. When taking public transportation, passengers should wear face masks during the entirety of their trip and try to reduce gathering.

Third, the adoption of contactless services will be encouraged. We will guide passenger transport operators to keep improving ticket services and take active steps to promote the application of services including online purchasing of tickets, e-tickets, and self-service check-in. The range of paperless and contactless services will be expanded. The smooth transition between railway, civil aviation and urban rail transit will be further advanced and the security check process will be optimized, so as to reduce the waiting time for transfers and public gathering and improve passengers' efficiency in transfer.

Fourth, the health management of transportation employees will be strengthened. We will urge operators to strengthen the health monitoring of transportation employees and carry out management of those with symptoms. Those who have symptoms such as fever should promptly report their situation, stop working and take a COVID-19 antigen test or nucleic acid test if necessary. Transportation employees are asked to strengthen self-protection. They should wear face masks during their work and practice good hand hygiene. Meanwhile, for service staff working in transportation hubs and highway service areas with large passenger flow and those working on the frontline in places such as toll booths, we advocate that they commute directly between their home and workplace. They should also wear N95 or KN95 face masks during their work. 

Fifth, epidemic prevention and control measures will be strictly implemented in airports and transportation hubs. We will urge operators to strengthen the daily public hygiene management in relevant airports and transportation hubs, highway service areas, toll booths, and some transportation vehicles. All of these public facilities will go through thorough cleaning and disinfection and ensure good ventilation. In areas where the epidemic situation is serious, the frequency of cleaning, disinfection and ventilation will be increased, and the windows of passenger vehicles will be opened regularly for ventilation. 

Sixth, effective measures will be taken to respond to large-scale infections of transportation employees. We will urge operators to strengthen the management of transportation employees in terms of epidemic control. Drivers will undergo strict and prudential examinations before going to work to ensure that their physical conditions meet the standards for safe driving. Mechanisms for staff rotation and backups in key positions and for cross-regional mobilization of personnel and transport capacity will be established and implemented. We will make preparations in case of the need to respond to large-scale infections of transportation employees, so as to ensure that the replacement of personnel is carried out in an orderly manner and that transportation services are not disrupted. 

We would also like to appeal to all regions to provide care for transportation employees. Highway service areas and service centers for drivers should if possible set up medical service stations, prepare necessary materials for epidemic treatment such as anti-fever drugs and provide necessary places for drivers to rest, so as to ensure that transportation employees can receive timely medical treatment and get the necessary rest when they have symptoms.

Next, we will pay close attention to developments in the epidemic nationwide, make timely adjustments to the relevant policies and supporting measures as circumstances change, and guide regions to take well-coordinated steps to prevent and control the epidemic and provide services for the Spring Festival travel rush. Thank you.

Xing Huina:

Today's briefing is hereby concluded. Any news organization that did not get a chance to raise questions today may contact us after the briefing. Thank you to all the speakers and friends from the media. Goodbye.

Translated and edited by Wang Yiming, Zhang Rui, Xu Xiaoxuan, Li Huiru, Yan Bin, Wang Wei, Yang Xi, Liu Qiang, Cui Can, Zhang Junmian, Duan Yaying, Huang Shan, Xiang Bin, Liu Sitong, Ma Yujia, Xu Kailin, Wang Qian, Zhu Bochen, Zhang Jiaqi, David Ball, Tom Arnsten, and Jay Birbeck. In case of any discrepancy between the English and Chinese texts, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

/7    Xing Huina

/7    Xu Chengguang

/7    Cai Tuanjie

/7    Wan Xiangdong

/7    Chen Kai

/7    Huang Xin

/7    Group photo