Seasonal demand from passenger services during the summer vacation helped the nation’s two largest airlines post better sales in the third quarter either on an annual or a quarterly basis.
However, the sector’s sales and profitability may lose momentum in the fourth quarter on a weaker cargo traffic outlook and higher aviation fuel prices, brokerage house Capital Securities Corp (群益證券) said in its latest report.
China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空), the nation’s largest carrier, posted NT$10.53 billion (US$358.18 million) in revenue last month, down 12.69 percent from August and 1.63 percent from the same period last year, according to the company’s stock exchange filing.
Revenue from its passenger sector amounted to NT$6.87 billion last month, down 19.37 percent from NT$8.52 billion posted in August, the highest level of monthly passenger sales this year, as passenger business slowed following the end of the summer vacation.
For its cargo business, revenue rose 5.13 percent to NT$3.28 billion last month from August, CAL statistics showed.
Strong seasonal demand for passenger traffic helped to boost CAL’s sales in the third quarter to NT$35.01 billion, a rise of 5.14 percent from the second quarter and 0.72 percent from the third quarter of last year.
The nation’s second-largest airline, EVA Airways Corp (EVA, 長榮航空), showed a similar trend.
The carrier posted NT$8.64 billion in sales last month, down 13.34 percent from August, but up 4.53 percent from September last year, the company said in its stock exchange filing.
Revenue from its passenger sector also fell 22.17 percent from August to NT$5.16 billion last month, while the cargo business reported NT$2.88 billion in sales last month, up 6.67 percent from August.
For the third quarter, EVA posted NT$28.65 billion in sales, up 8.69 percent from the previous quarter and up 4.71 percent from a year ago, the company’s financial statement showed.
EVA’s revenue rose 4.36 percent from a year ago to NT$80.58 billion in the first nine months of the year, while CAL posted NT$100.39 billion during the same period, up 1.63 percent year-on-year, statistics showed.
Regarding the fourth quarter, Capital Securities expressed uncertainty over the airline sector’s business performance, as aviation fueling prices rebounded, as well as the low visibility of the cargo business.
Meanwhile, the airlines sector may see its passenger business lose momentum, because passenger demand between the low season and the busy season always diverges sharply, the brokerage house said in its latest report.
CAL chairman Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) shared similar concerns during a press conference last month, saying: “The trend in global crude oil prices will be a major uncertainty that influences the company’s profitability during the fourth quarter.”
However, the US’ decision to include Taiwan in its visa-waiver program will have a positive effect on the airline sector’s passenger revenue in the fourth quarter, EVA president Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒) told reporters last week.
Chang Kuo-wei also expected EVA’s cargo revenue in the fourth quarter to be stronger than in the third quarter, because newly launched electronic products will provide some impetus to freight demand.
Revenue for TransAsia Airways Corp (TNA, 復興航空) — the third listed Taiwanese airline, which focuses on regional passenger business — totaled NT$726.32 million last month, down 2.66 percent and 18.3 percent from a year and a month earlier respectively, according to the carrier’s financial data.