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Volume 14,Issue 3 Autumn 2012

Civil aviation industry grows in 1Q but increments fall


China’s civil aviation industry grew by a double-digit percentage in the first quarter of 2008, but the increments in the three main production indexes fell compared to the output last year. Total traffic throughput in the first quarter totaled 9.07 billion ton kilometers, higher by 12.9 percent compared to the same period last year. Passenger volume also grew by 11 percent to 45.658 million, and cargo and mail throughput increased by 12.4 percent to 983,000 tons. But the increments were 6.6, 4.9 and 0.9 percentage points lower compared to the same period last year. The decrease in increment was attributed to a slow growth in international flights. In the first quarter this year, the increments in passenger and cargo traffic volumes of international flights were 9.6 percent and 13.9 percent, respectively. But in the same period last year, the increments were 23.9 percent and 25.1 percent. It was noted that the decrease occurred in March and on the air routes from China to Japan, Korea, United States and some air routes to Europe. In March, the passenger traffic on international flights decreased by 1.1 percent on a year-on-year comparison. Some analysts said the fall in passenger traffic volume was due to the depreciation of the US dollar and the events in Tibet. The production increment in domestic flights in the first quarter this year was also slower. The passenger traffic volume increment is 11.2 percent, down by 3.9 percentage points on a year-on-year basis. This was attributed to the suppression on the rising consumer price index on market requirements. In contrast, although the passenger traffic volume on Hong Kong and Macao air routes is down 0.5 percent on a year-on-year basis, the cargo/mail throughput is up by 6 percent. In the first quarter, the load factor was high but the aircraft utilization rate was lower. The average scheduled flight occupancy rate is 75.3 percent and scheduled flight load factor 66.8 percent, up 2.1 percentage points and 2.7 percentage points on a year-on-year comparison, respectively. The average daily utilization rate of transport aircraft in the first quarter is 9.1 hours, down 0.3 hour compared to the same period last year. The utilization rate of large and medium aircraft was 9.4 hours, down by 0.2 hour. On the other hand, the utilization rate of small aircraft was 6.2 hours, up by 0.8 hour. The higher passenger occupancy rate and load factor, and lower aircraft utilization rate, are beneficial for airlines to add income and save on costs, and improve economic benefit. By the end of March, there were 1,160 registered civil aircraft, 10 more than at the end of February. In March, general aviation companies registered a total of 5,461 flight hours, up by 28.4 percent compared to last year.

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