China Southern Airlines (600029.SS) and China Eastern Airlines (600115.SS) each reported first quarterly profits in more than three years on Friday, as a pickup in international flights complemented a recovery in the domestic market.
The results, coupled with similarly encouraging figures from Air China, are helping to fan industry hopes for China’s big three state carriers to finally step out of the difficulties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
China Southern, based in the southern city of Guangzhou, reported third-quarter profit of 4.2 billion yuan ($573.89 million), compared with a loss of 1.0 billion yuan in the prior quarter, and a loss of 6.1 billion in the year-earlier quarter.
Shanghai-headquartered China Eastern booked a quarterly net profit of 3.6 billion yuan, compared with a loss of 2.4 billion yuan in the previous three months, and a loss of 9.4 billion yuan in the year-earlier period.
The Hong Kong-listed shares of flagship Air China rose almost 6% in their biggest jump in four months, but gave back some gains to close up 4.7% after the airline reported its first quarterly profit in nearly four years.
Air China (601111.SS) said third-quarter net profit was 4.24 billion yuan on Thursday, versus a loss of 600 million yuan in the previous quarter and 8.67 billion yuan in the year-ago period.
The aviation regulator said on Friday that air passenger numbers in the third quarter reached 180 million, or 2.6% higher than the level pre-pandemic level in 2019, and a record for any quarter.