Major Airlines in China returns to profit in Q3, signaling accelerating recovery of aviation industry
Published: Oct 30, 2023 12:59 AM
File photo:Air China

File photo:Air China

Three major Chinese airlines recorded a net profit gain in the third quarter, according to their quarterly report revealed on late Friday, a sign indicating that China's aviation industry is accelerating its pace of recovery amid a domestic travel surge.

Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines announced their third quarter report on Friday, showing a better-than-expected results. Leveraging booming domestic tourism, the three groups are back in the black for the first time since 2019.

Air China tops the growth with a net profit of 4.24 billion yuan ($579.76 million) in the third quarter, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines also posted revenues of 4.19 billion yuan and 3.64 billion yuan respectively.

Profits in the third quarter helped Air China and China Southern Airlines achieve overall profitability in the first three quarters of the year, and narrowed China Eastern Airlines' loss to 2.6 billion yuan, reduced than 90 percent compared to the same period last year.

The industry's quarterly passenger traffic also hit a record high. Chinese civil aviation completed 180 million passenger trips in the third quarter, up 108.3 percent year-on-year. The number increased 2.6 percent from the same period in 2019, according to data released by Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

Benefiting from buyoant domestic travel, China's aviation industry is experiencing a rapid recovery and fueling the country's economic revival.

During the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays in 2023, China's civil aviation transported 17.082 million passengers, with a daily average of 2.14 million, recorded an increase of 194.9 percent compared to the same period in 2022, CAAC reported.

The transported passenger number per day was also up 12.6 percent from 2019 levels.

Earlier in the month, the three airlines announced rises in available seat kilometer and passenger turnover rate in September. China Southern Airlines achieved 126.27 percent and 160.85 percent year-on-year growth in the two figures respectively, China Eastern Airlines also showed 154.58 percent and 173.35 percent growth. Air China tops the two peers with a 191.9 percent year-on-year growth in available seat kilometers, and 234.2 percent year-on-year increase in passenger turnover rate.

The CAAC will continue to encourage and support Chinese and foreign airlines to resume international passenger flights, Liang Nan, director general of the Department of Transport of CAAC, said at a press conference.

In the winter and spring seasons of 2023/2024, the number of regular passenger flights between China and the US is expected to increase from a current 48 flights per week to 70 flights per week.