Wed, May 21, 2014 - Page 13 News List

China Airlines eyes return to profit after widened Q1 losses

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

China Airlines Ltd chairman Sun Hung-hsiang, fourth right, and Tamkang University director Flora Chang, fourth left, shake hands at an event in Taipei yesterday marking the signing of a cooperation program.

Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times

China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) hopes that strong passenger demand and the company’s cost control measures will help it return to the black this year after posting a widened loss in the first quarter.

“We still have high hopes for strong seasonal demand in the passenger sector in July and August, which will help us post a profit in the third quarter,” China Airlines chairman Sun Hung-hsiang (孫洪祥) said yesterday.

The nation’s largest carrier expects its overall passenger load to reach 75 percent this quarter, Sun said, after the firm held a ceremony in Taipei to sign a cooperation deal with Tamkang University.

The carrier plans to further strengthen its cost control efforts, as fuel charges remain relatively high this year and they account for more than 40 percent of the airline’s total costs, he said.

During the January-to-March period, CAL posted a net loss of NT$2.73 billion (US$90.39 million), or losses per share of NT$0.52, which was its worst performance since the third quarter of 2009 due to a weak cargo business and high fuel costs.

Meanwhile, Sun said the airline is scheduled to take delivery of 10 Boeing Co 777 series aircraft from September — part of its fleet replacement and upgrade plan — with three new planes set to join the fleet by the end of the year.

The new energy efficient planes will help lower the carrier’s fuel expenditure by more than 20 percent compared with its B747 series aircraft, he said.

As a result, China Airlines plans to recruit 120 pilots this year, he added.

The carrier and Tamkang University yesterday inked an industry-academia collaboration to introduce civil aviation courses and programs to the college.

Tamkang University has its own department of Aerospace Engineering and China Airlines held examinations at the university’s campus as part of its plan to recruit pilots.

A China Airlines pilot’s monthly salary is NT$200,000 (US$6,630) or more, the company said.

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