BEIJING, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- China will see a 45-percent drop of trips over the annual Spring Festival travel period due to the COVID-19 outbreak this year, and there will not be a "peak" of travelers in the coming days like years before, officials said Saturday.

"Multiple measures on staggering return trips have been implemented to lower the risks of epidemic transmission, and they are producing notable results," Li Wenxin, vice general manager of the China State Railway Group Co., Ltd., said at a press conference in Beijing.

In the near future, there will be no large-scale flows of people in return trips on the railway, Li said.

The majority of passengers over the following days are expected to be migrant workers returning to their urban jobs and students beginning their classes, said Liu Xiaoming, vice minister of transport, predicting that those who travel before the end of February will be mostly migrant workers.

This migrating population is estimated to make around 300 million trips, about 80 million of which have been completed, some 120 million to be made by the end of February and the remaining roughly 100 million after March, Liu said.

The prediction shows that trips made by students will amount to 100 million before the new semester starts, the date of which is yet to be determined, according to Liu.

It was estimated that the number of railway passenger trips after the Spring Festival would reach 280 million, with an average of 11.2 million per day, said Li Wenxin, adding that in fact, the total number of passengers sent after the holiday was less than 40 million as of Friday, with an average of 1.84 million each day, down 83 percent from the same period last year.

The number of passenger trips made by air also dropped sharply, and from Jan. 25 to Feb. 14, civil aviation transported 470,000 passengers per day, a quarter of the number from the same period last year, said Li Jian, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

"The downward trend is expected to continue from Feb. 15 to 23, with less than 40 percent of seats filled," Li Jian said.

Since Jan. 21, more than 20 million flight tickets worth over 20 billion yuan (2.86 billion U.S. dollars) have been refunded free of charge by domestic and foreign airlines, Li Jian added.

From Jan. 25 to Feb. 14, a total of 283 million passenger trips were made across the country, with 13.48 million per day, down 82.3 percent compared with the same period last year, said Liu Xiaoming.

The Spring Festival travel rush, also known as chunyun, lasts for 40 days from Jan. 10 to Feb. 18 this year.