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Thai Airways yield weakness continues; net profit for Korean Air; Chinese airline shares slump

Chinese airline shares were down on Friday (Shanghai Airlines, Hainan Airlines, China Southern, China Eastern and Air China fell 5.0%, 4.3%, 3.4%, 0.8% and 0.7%, respectively), reflecting a poor week for Chinese stocks. (The Shanghai Composite Index, which fell to a six week low. Despite the slump, the market is still up 67% in the year to date).

On the other end of the spectrum, Indian airline shares gained on Friday, despite a reduction in India’s benchmark stock index, on news that the Indian Government will form a panel of Ministers to look into the financial health of Indian airlines. The panel will also look into matters related to the price and sales tax on aviation fuel, according to Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel. Leading the gains was SpiceJet, up 9.7%, followed by Jet Airways (+8.7%) and Kingfisher (+3.2%). 

Korean Air's shares gained 0.4% on Friday. The carrier reported a USD102 million operating loss and a USD63 million net profit in the three months ended Jun-2009, compared to a USD94 million operating loss and a USD232 million net loss in the previous corresponding period.

Thai Airways, meanwhile, gained 1.3%, as the carrier stated it expects to return to profit in 3Q2009 and achieve its targets for 4Q2009, enabling the carrier to produce a full year profit. The carrier reported a loss of USD158 million in the three months to Jun-2009 (compared to a loss of USD271 million in the previous corresponding period), although it experienced a 32% slump in revenue, with passenger and cargo yields also hurting, down 11.2% and 23.5%, respectively.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Transport Ministry stated it plans to establish an expert panel this week to help restructure Japan Airlines. The carrier’s stock was down 0.6% on Friday.

Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 14-Aug-09