China Southern Airlines became the first of the country’s three largest carriers to eke out a small operating profit following the coronavirus pandemic, as its compatriots narrow their losses on the back of travel demand recovery.
The recent half-year financial results of China’s major airlines, including China Southern, China Eastern, and Air China, showcase a positive trend in the recovery of the travel and hospitality industry within the region. Following the relaxation of Covid-19 travel restrictions, these carriers have observed significant improvements in passenger travel revenue and overall performance.
China Southern Airlines, as the first among the ‘Big Three’ carriers, has demonstrated resilience by achieving a CNY1.4 billion ($192 million) operating profit, a noteworthy turnaround from the CNY10.6 billion loss in the same period last year. This impressive shift can be attributed to a remarkable 76% surge in revenues, reaching CNY71.8 billion. Notably, passenger revenue has more than doubled, highlighting a strong rebound in demand.
In a similar vein, China Eastern Airlines has shown signs of recovery, despite an operating loss of CNY2.6 billion during the half-year. This is a significant improvement from the CNY15.7 billion loss reported in the previous year’s comparable period. The airline’s revenue has more than doubled to CNY52 billion, with passenger revenue tripling year-on-year, reflecting a noteworthy resurgence in travel demand.
Air China has also demonstrated progress by significantly narrowing its operating loss to CNY898 million, compared to a CNY17 billion loss in the prior-year period. The carrier’s revenue has more than doubled to CNY63.7 billion, driven by a threefold increase in passenger traffic and a substantial expansion in capacity.
Despite these positive developments, it’s important to note that all carriers have faced rising costs, primarily attributed to increased flight operations and fuel expenses. This cost escalation underscores the challenges still prevalent within the industry, even as recovery gains momentum.
The collective success of these major carriers indicates a notable recovery in the Chinese travel and hospitality sector, reflecting the positive impact of eased travel restrictions and resuming international operations. As these airlines continue to fine-tune their strategies to navigate the evolving landscape, the industry’s gradual resurgence remains a key focal point for travel and hospitality professionals and stakeholders.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.