Air China reported a net profit of CNY6.5 billion ($946 million) for the first nine months of 2018, down 20% year-over-year (YOY), the highest earnings among the country’s three main carriers. 

Revenue for the 9-month period was CNY102 billion, up 12% YOY. Operating profit was down 23.5% to CNY95.7 billion. The lower profit margin was because of increased operating costs, which was up by 19.5% to CNY96.3 billion.

For the first nine months of 2018, Air China’s capacity (ASKs) and revenue (RPKs) saw double-digital growth of 11.95% and 10.96%, respectively. For the third quarter, ASKs and RPKs were up 9.5% and 9.2%, respectively. Load factors remained at around 80.3%, down by 0.72 pts.

Subsidiary Shenzhen Airlines showed satisfactory capacity and revenue growth over the nine-month period. ASKs and RPKs were up 9.4% and 9.5%, respectively. 

Air China said that, despite challenges posed by the rising costs of fuel and weakened currency, the airline benefited from a strong demand during the summer season from both domestic and international markets. The Star Alliance member aims to improve operational efficiency, passenger experience and competitiveness for sustainable growth. 

The parent company will take in 38 new aircraft in 2019, including four Airbus A350-900s, 18 A320s and 16 Boeing 737s. The fleet growth for narrowbody aircraft will continue into 2020, where the airline will induct another 27 narrowbodies, 16 of which are 737s.

Chen Chuanren, chuanren@purplelightvisuals.com