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Oil Prices Hit Chinese Airlines in First Quarter
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Overall losses of China's civil aviation industry amounted to 1.34 billion yuan (US$167.5 million) in the first quarter due to surging oil prices, Shanghai Securities Jounal reported on Monday.

Quoting a report by the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC), the paper said most of the country's major airlines reported losses from January to March.

However, Shenzhen Airlines, Xiamen Airlines and Hainan Airlines said they made profits during the three-month period.

An official with Shenzhen Airlines attributed the achievement to a series of measures to reduce management, labor and maintenance costs.

Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines said its economic losses came to 955 million yuan (US$119 million) in the first quarter.

Guangdong-based China Southern Airlines said its net losses amounted to 665 million yuan, predicting the losses would continue in the second quarter.

CAAC statistics showed the country's airlines transported 35.13 million passengers and 749,000 tons of cargo in the first quarter, up 20 percent and 12.5 percent respectively from the same period last year.

The industry's total revenues amounted to 47.43 billion yuan (US$5.9 billion), a rise of 21.5 percent year on year. Production costs rose 26.4 percent year-on-year to 48.47 billion yuan (US$6 billion).

(Xinhua News Agency May 23, 2006)

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