China’s airlines, like most others, are struggling to climb through the world economic turbulence. The third quarter was grim for the major carriers, with Air China, China Eastern and China Southern posting losses of US$284 million, US$341 million and US$118 million respectively. The losses were due to lower passenger numbers and rising fuel costs.
In these difficult times, the three airlines have agreed to cooperate on maintenance in order to cut costs. And the parent companies of China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines will each receive a US$440 million capital injection from the government.
Looking ahead to better times, US aircraft maker Boeing said it expects China to need 3,710 new commercial aircraft, worth about US$390 billion, over the next 20 years. China is the fastest-growing aviation center in the world and accounts for 41% of all airplane demand in the Asia-Pacific region, Boeing said.
Embraer, the world’s third-largest aircraft manufacturer, predicts China will need 883 regional planes over the next 20 years. The company said China has an undeveloped market for regional and corporate jets and forecast China sales this year at US$400 million this year, compared with US$150 million last year.