Air China August tonnage increases but so does capacity

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Air China handled 126,534 tonnes of cargo in August, recording increases on both a year-on-year and month-on-month basis.

Capacity increased by 15.3 per cent year-on-year, while freight tonnage rose by 6.2 per cent year-on-year. The load factor was 56.7 per cent, a year-on-year decrease of 2.9 per cent. Total monthly tonnage for August was 126,534 compared to a yearly high of 136,058 tonnes in March, followed by a steady falling back to 128,345 tonnes, 127,400 tonnes, and 121,534 tonnes in April, May and June, respectively. It was down from the January figure of 124,005 tonnes and up from February when it was 91,764 tonnes.

Domestic cargo fell from the year’s high of 85,119 tonnes in March to 76,900 in August, up from 69,984 tonnes in July. International cargo fell slightly from the yearly high of 44,773 tonnes in March to 42,506 tonnes in July. Regional cargo rose from 6,166 tonnes in March to 7,127 tonnes in August, down slightly from 7,277 tonnes in July.

For the year-to-date (YTD), total tonnage rose by 4.5 per cent to 976,161, domestic tonnage by 1.5 per cent to 599,564, while international increased by 7.9 per cent to 325,971 and regionally it went up by 21 per cent to 50,643. The load factors continued the yearly rise and fall trend as August showed the second consecutive monthly fall with a total load factor of 56.7 per cent, down from 58.1 per cent in July and a 2014 high of 58.5 per cent in June.

Domestic, international and regional load factors are also all down, compared to August 2013 at minus 1.4 per cent, minus 3.5 per cent and minus 1.1 per cent, respectively.

The international load figure of 58.9 per cent for August came in midway between February’s low point of 54.3 per cent and March’s YTD high of 63.1 per cent, and July’s 60.8 per cent. The domestic load factor remained fairly stable between July and August at 53 per cent and 53.4 per cent respectively, though year-on-year the August figure was down 1.4 per cent.

Regional load factors remain consistently weak though these had been rising since a February low of 23.3 per cent to a high of 39.8 per cent in July, before falling back to 36.7 per cent in August.

In August, Air China purchased a total of 347,000 tons of jet fuel at a price of 7,075 renminbi ($1,151.27) per tonne, a year-on-year decrease of one per cent. The average jet fuel purchase price at international airports was 6,170 renminbi per ton, a year-on-year decrease of two per cent. The average jet fuel purchase price for domestic flights was 7,348 renminbi per ton, a year-on-year decrease of one per cent.

Air China announced its financial results for the first half of 2014 on 26 August with revenue rising year-on-year by 8.5 per cent to 49,932 million renminbi. Operating costs increased year-on-year by 6.7 per cent to 47,589 million renminbi while profit for shareholders dropped year-on-year by 55.42 per cent to 510 million renminbi. The company says the renminbi, dollar exchange loss was the main cause for the overall decrease in the first half of 2014. During August, the group took delivery of three Boeing 737-800 and one Boeing 777 Freighter, and retired a Boeing 747-400 Combi, giving the company a 518-strong fleet.

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