The nation’s three major airlines recorded a loss-making first quarter due either to the impact of high fueling costs or route expansion.
China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空), the nation’s largest carrier, posted a quarterly loss of NT$1.11 billion (US$36.94 million) for the first three months, compared with a loss of NT$1.33 billion during the same period last year, the company said in a stock exchange filing.
Smaller rival EVA Airways Corp (EVA, 長榮航空) reported a loss of NT$917.02 million in the first three months, compared with a loss of NT$714.5 million a year ago.
As global crude oil prices hover at a high level, rising fuel costs were blamed for the quarterly losses.
In addition, sluggish air cargo sales have offset the increase in passenger sales seen in the first quarter, EVA data showed.
For TransAsia Airways Corp (TNA, 復興航空), route expansion was the major factor driving its loss in the first quarter. TNA posted a loss of NT$128.46 million for the first three months of the year, reversing net income of NT$22.47 million a year earlier.
TNA has launched several new routes in Asia since the second half of last year, but the routes have dragged down profit as they have not yet garnered enough customers to absorb costs.
Capital Securities Corp (群益證券) said in a note that the falling Japanese yen may boost passenger business in the near future, but that H7N9 avian influenza in China is causing uncertainty in the sector.