CHINA: Chinese carriers return to profit

While much of the world’s air carriers suffered severely over the past year, Chinese airlines made significant headway in earning a collective profit of CNY7.4 billion (US$1.08 billion) in 2009 with total operating revenue coming in at CNY212 billion. A year earlier the Chinese carriers turned in a CNY31.8 billion net loss. Industry analysts credit […]


While much of the world’s air carriers suffered severely over the past year, Chinese airlines made significant headway in earning a collective profit of CNY7.4 billion (US$1.08 billion) in 2009 with total operating revenue coming in at CNY212 billion. A year earlier the Chinese carriers turned in a CNY31.8 billion net loss. Industry analysts credit the turn-around on the recovery of the domestic economy, government subsidies, hedging gains from rising fuel prices and the revival of the civil aviation construction fund. Total cargo volumes rose 9.3 per cent to 4.5 million tonnes while passenger numbers climbed 19.7 per cent to 230 million.

Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) Vice Minister Wang Changshun said he is optimistic about the industry’s prospects owing to the improved economic situation, the upcoming Expo 2010 in Shanghai and November’s Asian Games in Guangzhou. CAAC forecasts cargo traffic to grow 12 per cent to 5 million tonnes while passenger numbers will rise 13 per cent to 260 million.

Wang added that CAAC will continue controlling capacity increases and severely limit the launch of new carriers. Chinese carriers collectively added 158 aircraft last year, 40 fewer than originally planned leaving the total fleet numbering 1,417 aircraft as at 31 December. This year carriers plan to add 208 aircraft and phase out 17.