Chinese airlines report $879 million first-quarter net profit

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Published: April 21, 2011

Chinese airlines’ aircraft operating at Beijing. Photo: By Rob Finlayson.

Chinese carriers posted collective first-quarter net income of CNY5.73 billion ($ 879 million), up 31.8% over the year-ago period, according to CAAC, which credited the continuing growth of domestic market demand. Total operating revenue climbed 21% to CNY76.97 billion, outpacing a 17.6% rise in expenses to CNY70.7 billion.

Passenger boardings rose 9.3% compared to the year-ago period; domestic passengers increased 9.1% to 62.2 million while international passengers heightened 12.3% to 4.9 million. Average passenger load factor improved 1.5 points to 80.4%.

Cargo traffic increased 1.2%; freight volumes were up 1% to 859,000 tonnes on domestic routes and up 1.6% to 427,000 tonnes on international routes.

Chinese carriers earned a collective net profit of CNY1.71 billion in March, down 36.2% from CNY2.69 billion in the year-ago month. Monthly operating revenue climbed 17.2% to CNY26.07 billion while operating expenses rose 16.6% to CNY24.34 billion.

March passenger boardings rose 5% to 22.8 million with an average load factor of 81%, improved 0.4 point over the year-ago month. CAAC noted that the monthly year-over-year passenger growth rate hit a new yearly low in March, which it attributed to a slow global economic recovery, the unstable political situation in North Africa and Japan’s earthquake.

March passenger boardings rose only 2.7% to 1.6 million on international routes while lifting 5.2% to 21.2 million on domestic routes. Passenger boardings climbed 28.4% to 228,600 on routes across the Taiwan Strait. March cargo traffic volume increased 2% to 489,000 tonnes.

As of March 31, Chinese carriers operated a total fleet of 1,622 aircraft. In March, the country’s airlines introduced 13 new aircraft, comprising two Airbus A321s, one MA60, one Embraer E-190, three A320s and six Boeing 737-600s. They phased out six aircraft, comprising two 767-300s, one MD-11 freighter, one MD-90, one 737-300 and one 737-700.

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