[News] September 5, 2023, 7:00 am ET. By Lei Yan.
On August 30, the big three airlines, Air China, China Eastern, and China Southern released their results in the first half of 2023 (1H23). Overall, the carriers still recorded negative profits, but the amount of loss has been significantly reduced versus the same period last year, benefiting from the release of COVID-19 control measures in China. However, the recovery of international and regional transportation are behind domestic transport, and all of them called out macroeconomic risks in uncertain demand, high exchange rates, increasing oil price, and more.
China Eastern’s first C919 (Photo: N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia…
In 1H23, Air China recorded a loss attributed to shareholders at ¥3.45Bn ($0.48Bn). The loss was significantly reduced compared to the 1H22 loss at ¥19.43Bn ($$2.78Bn, 2022 exchange rates). The available seat kilometers (ASK) increased by 160% compared to 1H22, among which international ASK was 9x of 1H22 performance, amid China’s release in border controls. On the other hand, cargo performance was down 15%.
During 1H23, Air China acquired controlling interests in Shandong Airlines, a regional airline based in Shandong, China that mainly operates Boeing 737 series jets. The acquisition made Air China Group the largest airline in Asia in terms of fleet size, with 902 jets operated by Air China and its subsidiaries.
China Eastern also achieved similar results to Air China, with significant loss reduction and increases in performance. Compared to 1H22 ¥18.74Bn ($2.68Bn, 2022 exchange rates), China Eastern recorded a ¥6.25Bn ($0.87Bn) loss in 1H23. The significant loss reduction benefited from the 144% increase in available seat kilometers (ASK) and 189% increase in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK).
China Eastern’s first C919 (Photo: N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia …