BEIJING/SYDNEY, Oct 30 (Reuters) - China Southern Airlines
, which has the largest domestic network among the
country's state-owned carriers, on Friday reported the first
quarterly profit since the pandemic hit, as it benefited from
robust domestic travel demand over the summer.
The airline, now the world's largest as others have pared
back capacity, recorded a net profit of 711 million yuan ($106.3
million) following a 2.9 billion yuan loss in the second
Its nine-month net loss amounted to 7.5 billion yuan.
Rivals China Eastern Airlines and Air China
both reported narrower losses in the third quarter
versus the second, though most international flights remain
Private airlines such as Juneyao Airlines and
Spring Airlines also turned profitable due to their
smaller exposure to the international market.
A surging yuan against the U.S. dollar and low oil prices
have also helped bolster the bottom lines of Chinese airlines.
The outlook for the fourth quarter appears even brighter,
with domestic traffic set to top pre-pandemic levels for the
winter season, in contrast to foreign rivals that are reducing
schedules as COVID-19 case numbers rise in the United States and
The latest official schedules showed Chinese airlines plan
to operate 84,634 domestic passenger flights per week from late
October through March next year, up 19.8% from a year earlier.
Shanghai-based China Eastern, which has been rolling out
various "all you can fly" package deals, said its net loss
narrowed to 563 million yuan in the third quarter from 4.6
billion yuan in the second.
Beijing-based Air China, the country's flag carrier, said
its net loss shrank to 671 million yuan from 4.6 billion to take
its nine-month loss to 10.1 billion yuan.
Due to the pandemic, Chinese airlines are redirecting
widebody jets from international to popular domestic routes,
leading to downward pressure on fares.
The number of weekly international flights serving mainland
China from late October through next March is set to decline by
96.8%, official data showed.
($1 = 6.6890 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Stella Qiu in Beijing and Jamie Freed in Sydney;
editing by Christopher Cushing and Jason Neely)