China Southern downgraded; China Eastern and Air China report double-digit pax and cargo growth

Shares in Chinese airlines fell back in Hong Kong trading yesterday, with China Eastern slipping 3.8% and China Southern and Air China down by 3.4% and 2.4%, respectively. Sentiment was affected by higher oil prices, coupled with strong official remarks that the Yuan-dollar peg is to be maintained for now.

Air China and China Eastern reported double-digit passenger and cargo growth in Mar-2010, with Air China witnessing a 18.2% increase in passenger numbers to 3.8 million (domestic pax up 16.5% to 3.1 million, international numbers up 25.8% to 542,000 and regional passengers up 31.2% to 111,600) and China Eastern experiencing a 42.6% increase in passenger levels to 5.2 million (domestic up 42.8% to 4.4 million; international up 47.6% to 511,380; regional: up 27.4% to 211.670).

Passenger load factors also improved, with Air China reporting a 6.4 ppt load factor increase to 80.5% and Air China’s load factors gaining 7.0 ppts to 77.3%. Cargo volumes were up 32.5% and 74.2%, respectively.

Meanwhile, China Southern Airlines was downgraded by Macquarie from “outperform” to “neutral”.  

Korean Air returns to profitability in 1Q2010

Also in North Asia, shares in South Korea’s Asiana Airlines gained 3.0% yesterday, while Korean Air’s share price gained 0.3%, as the latter reported a return to profitability in 1Q2010, with an operating profit of USD198 million and a profit before tax of USD203 million.

See related report: Korean Air and Asiana Airlines back in the earnings sweet spot

For this and more coverage of the region’s aviation updates, subscribe to Asia Pacific Airline Daily. Other highlights in today’s edition include:

  • Japan Airlines' pilots agree to 5% pay reduction: reports;
  • AirAsia X receives verbal approval for Incheon service;
  • Amadeus planned listing to be launched on 29-Apr-2010 between EUR9.2 and EUR12.2 per share;
  • Ascend launches industry-standard Aircraft Ratings.

Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 14-Apr-2010