China’s three largest airlines are expected to suffer heavy losses in the first half of this year, citing adverse impacts from the repeated Covid outbreaks and surging fuel prices.  

China Southern Airlines, Air China, and China Eastern Airlines are estimated to post combined losses of around $8 billion in the first six months of 2022. Among them, Air China is the biggest loser.

According to Upstream News, all three major airlines on July 15 released preliminary data for the first half of 2022.

The main reasons given for these airlines’ poor performance were that the domestic civil aviation industry had been affected by multiple factors, such as repeated Covid epidemics, high oil prices, and depreciation of the yuan.

Air China: Net loss of up to 21 billion yuan ($3.1 billion)

Air China announced that it expects a net loss attributable to shareholders of about $3 billion.

This figure tripled the loss recorded in the same period last year when the company lost more than $1 billion.

In June, Air China’s consolidated passenger turnover plummeted 47.6% year-on-year. Its passenger capacity input fell 40.5% from a year earlier.

In freight, the airline reported freight turnover down 0.3% year-on-year, and freight capacity input down 12.5% on-year.

China Southern Airlines: Net loss of up to 12.1 billion yuan ($1.8 billion)

According to China Southern Airlines’s preliminary calculations, the net loss attributable to the shareholders in the half year is estimated at up to $1.8 billion.

In the same period last year, the company was also hard hit, but the loss was smaller, at $148,000

In June, passenger turnover of China Southern Airlines decreased 26.10% year-on-year, and the passenger capacity input dropped 16.8% year-on-year.

In terms of freight, China Southern Airlines’ freight capacity input in June decreased by 13.78% year-on-year

China Eastern Airlines: Net loss of up to 19.5 billion yuan

China Eastern Airlines announced in the preliminary calculations that the net loss attributable to the shareholders will be about 17-19.5 billion ($2.5 billion to $3 billion) for the first half year of 2022.

This loss also widened from the same period last year when the company reported a loss of $770 million.

The company said that the aviation industry faced an unprecedented difficulty in the first six months of this year, with civil aviation transport falling into a trough. The passenger traffic was 118 million, only equivalent to 36.7% during the same period of 2019.

In June, China Eastern Airlines reported passenger turnover down 58.24% year-on-year, and passenger capacity input fell by 52.53% on-year.

In terms of freight, the company’s volume of goods and mail fell 30.15% year-on-year.

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