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China's airlines generated a total of 21.1 billion yuan ($3.4 billion) profit in 2012, a drop of 22.7 percent year-on-year, according to the latest data from the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
After posting a combined loss of 570 million yuan in November, domestic airlines lost another 120 million yuan in December due to seasonal low demand and falling ticket prices, reported Shanghai-based newspaper China Business News citing a source from the CAAC on Jan 17.
"In 2012, there was a 12 percent growth in domestic flight capacity, but sluggish demand in the aviation market led to a declining passenger seat kilometer utilization and softening ticket prices particularly in low seasons," said Sun Chao, an analyst from Ping'an Securities Co Ltd.
The coming Lunar New Year is expected to fetch more gains for airlines as tens of millions of passengers will choose flights as the top choice for going home or traveling during the most important festival in China.
Ma Xulun, president of China Eastern Airlines Co Ltd, expected an eight percent growth in passenger volume during the Lunar New Year holiday, while Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines Co Ltd predicted it would transport 6.9 percent more passengers from a year ago, or 200,000 passengers per day.