CHINA: Air China, China Eastern June volumes down

Air China and China Eastern Airlines carried less cargo and fewer passengers in June than a year earlier as a slowing global economy, rising fuel costs, heightened airport security checks ahead of the Olympic Games and the devastating earthquake all conspired to dampen demand. Air China reported a 4.9 per cent slip in cargo volume […]


Air China and China Eastern Airlines carried less cargo and fewer passengers in June than a year earlier as a slowing global economy, rising fuel costs, heightened airport security checks ahead of the Olympic Games and the devastating earthquake all conspired to dampen demand.

Air China reported a 4.9 per cent slip in cargo volume in June to 74,509 tonnes, while China Eastern’s freight volume fell 5.9 per cent to 69,400 tonnes.

Air cargo demand has boomed in China, fuelled in part by flourishing overseas trade, although export growth slowed substantially in June due to global economic weakness and the appreciation of China’s yuan.

A dull global economy was also blamed by several airline executives for slowing international air traffic.

The decline in passenger traffic at two of China’s three major airlines extended a drop in May linked to a devastating earthquake in southwest China, which curbed tourist travel to scenic Sichuan province and led to the cancellation of conferences and other events.

Air China flew 2.67 million passengers in June, down 7.5 per cent year-on-year,with volume on international routes down 15.5 per cent while domestic traffic fell 5.3 percent.

China Eastern’s passenger volume fell 11.6 per cent to 2.75 million in June,with international service down 24.6 percent and domestic service shrinking 9.7per cent.

Air China had operating revenue of CNY24.21 billion (US$3.55 billion) in the first half of the year, up 5.5 per cent from the same period in 2007, Xinhua news agency reported. The carrier flew 16.56 million passengers and 410 955 tonnes of cargo in the first six months of 2008.

Chinese airlines have raised domestic jet fuel surcharges as much as 50 per cent from 1 July to off set pressure from highoil prices. Surcharges for international service were raised by more than 30 percent from 10 July.