The nation’s two largest airlines yesterday posted improved earnings for the third quarter compared with the previous quarter as expected, thanks to strong seasonal demand in passenger traffic.
China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空), the nation’s largest carrier, reported NT$875.67 million in net profit (US$29.32 million), or earnings per share of NT$0.19, for the third quarter, compared with a net loss of NT$282.41 million in the second quarter, the company said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
This was the first time CAL had reported a quarterly profit this year, helping it turn a six-month loss into a net profit of NT$214.15 million, or earnings per share of NT$0.05, for the first nine months, the data showed.
“Seasonal demand in the passenger sector was strong in July and August,” CAL chairman Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) said last month, evidence that this would be the main driver of the carrier’s earnings in the third quarter.
The same factor also helped drive up the third-quarter earnings for EVA Airways Corp (EVA, 長榮航空).
EVA posted a net profit of NT$1.26 billion, or earnings per share of NT$0.38, for the July-to-September period, up from NT$63.88 million in the second quarter, the company said in a stock exchange filing.
For the first nine months, the company reported NT$1.59 billion in net profit, or earnings per share of NT$0.49, data showed.
However, weak demand in the aviation cargo business and high crude oil prices remain the two major uncertainties this year, both Chang Chia-juch and EVA president Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒) said.
The two airlines’ earnings in the first nine months were still substantially lower than same period last year because of those uncertainties.
Last year, CAL posted NT$10.03 billion in net profit, or earnings per share of NT$2.19, for the first nine months, while EVA reported NT$11.05 billion in net profit, or earnings per share of NT$3.39, for the same period, data showed.
In related news, EVA on Thursday unveiled one of three planes bearing the image of popular Japanese fictional character Hello Kitty in a bid to boost business on its routes in east Asia.
The aircraft exteriors, as well as the cabins and accessories, such as boarding passes, napkins, baggage tags and flight attendant aprons, all carry the motif of the fictional cat.
The firm said the plane would be used on its Taiwan-Hokkaido route, while the other two would serve travelers on the Taiwan-Tokyo, Taiwan-Fukuoka and Taiwan-Seoul routes.
The airline said it hopes the promotion would emulate the success of its previous Hello Kitty campaigns at a time when the aviation industry is being impacted by a weak global economy.
Additional reporting by CNA