Lufthansa Airlines' capacity on routes to and from China has returned to 70% of the levels before the COVID-19 pandemic and it is evaluating adding new routes to the country, CEO Jens Ritter said on Friday.

However, Ritter told reporters in Shanghai that the company hoped to see stronger demand and needed to resolve delays in aircraft deliveries.

"We are very confident about the economy of China," Ritter said during his first trip to Asia after becoming Lufthansa CEO in April 2022.

"We are eager to increase our capacity towards China."

The airline is seeing Chinese travelers make more individual trips, versus large group tours that were more common before the pandemic, and passengers are more willing to pay for the business class or premium economy for more comfort. Demand from business trips was also picking up, he added.

The pilot-turned-executive said the German carrier is also considering opening new routes in China. "Besides the connection to Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, we are evaluating other parts of China," he said, naming cities such as Shenyang and Qingdao as potential locations.

Ritter's trip is to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the opening of the German airline's first route to Shanghai from Frankfurt.

While domestic travel has rebounded strongly after China lifted COVID curbs in early 2022, international travel has not kept up because of difficulties in obtaining visas, high air ticket prices and low consumer confidence in China.

The total number of international flights to China still lags behind the 2019 levels and remains about 70% of the pre-pandemic era, according to flight tracking app Flight Master. (Reporting by Sophie Yu, Brenda Goh; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)