Red China

Jay Shabat
September 12th, 2022 at 12:03 AM EDT

  • China’s six major airlines that are publicly traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange posted a collective net loss (gasp!) of $6.6 billion during just the three months of April, May, and June. That’s about equal to their entire revenue total, implying a net loss margin of 100 percent (gasp again).
  • China was first to suffer a Covid shock to its travel sector in early 2020, but air traffic quickly recovered, at least domestically. Later, variants like Delta and Omicron led to city-wide lockdowns, and the country’s zero-Covid policy kept international borders all but shut. IATA’s latest traffic data does show the Chinese domestic market rebounding in June and July, after hitting a low this spring. International travel remains largely dormant despite quarantine rules being somewhat relaxed.
  • China Eastern and Juneyao, both headquartered in Shanghai, were hit hardest by the city’s Covid lockdown this spring. Hence their especially ugly margins.
  • Air China was the most internationally-oriented Chinese carrier before the crisis, forcing it to redeploy widebodies back home. (Note that Air China’s Chengdu hub is currently locked down).
  • China Southern, by contrast, was the most domestic-oriented airline prior to the pandemic. It’s also based in the southeast of the country, in markets like Guangzhou and Shenzhen that did not experience Shanghai-like restrictions on movements this spring.

Sources: Airline Weekly analysis of company financial statements

Jay Shabat

Jay Shabat
September 12th, 2022 at 12:03 AM EDT

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