China’s airline industry is likely to remain weak until the second half of next year, a senior executive with China Eastern Airlines told Reuters. The executive, who asked not to be named, said airlines are hit hard by the world economic crisis and that the situation could get worse. Passenger volume at China’s major carriers, including Air China and China Southern Airlines, started to show year-on-year declines in May, after years of steady growth. China’s big domestic airlines may continue to cut back flights on loss-making routes to reduce costs. The executive said China Eastern, China Southern and other carriers have been losing money on some of their long-haul international routes, due in part to a lack of global networks. If traffic continues to fall, domestic airlines may file a joint appeal next year to the government for subsidies and tax breaks, the executive added.
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