Civil aviation head Li Jiaxiang, seen here, has reported that Chinese airlines made an estimated RMB 800 million ($116 million) profit in the first quarter thanks to a rebound in domestic travel and the government’s supporting measures.
He also told the 2009 China-US Aviation Symposium the domestic market saw a double-digit growth in passenger volume during the period, up 17.9% on the same period last year. Li said the growth rate was faster in China than that in other countries.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) statistics globally, passenger volumes fell by 10.1% in February, compared to that last year, following a decline of 5.6% in January.
IATA said carriers in North America and the Asia Pacific region saw passenger traffic decline by more than 12% in February while those in Europe saw a drop of 10.1%.
Li attributed China’s growth to the central government’s effective measures to spur domestic demand as well as the low price of oil. He said The CAAC’s measures to cut taxes and return funds to airlines, and the government’s injection in some large airlines, have helped them make profits.
English People’s Daily Online reported that Li Lei, aviation analyst with CITIC China Securities, had said that the growth rate was a sign of the domestic market bouncing back, pointing out that it was the traffic of cargo rather than passengers that reflected industry performances.
Li Jiaxiang said the passenger volume in April and May is likely to go up, and with the oil price remaining at the current level, the industry can earn a profit for 2009.