Home' Asian Aviation : AAV May 2010 Contents 8 AsianAviation | MAY 2010
China Eastern Airlines has reported a profit of
540 million yuan (US$79.1 million) for 2009,
reversing its 1.4 billion yuan loss the previous
year. The Shanghai-based carrier attributed
the result to lower operating costs due to
Revenue for the year dropped 4.8 percent
to 39.83 billion yuan, while fuel costs fell
33.7 percent to 12.26 billion, as several long-
haul routes were cut during the height of
the global economic crisis as travel demand
China Eastern chairman Liu Shaoying is
confident the carrier will perform better this
year, as demand for international travel has
picked up significantly. Most of the capacity
that was cut on international routes has now
As part of its plan to expand its route
network and increase frequency on existing
international routes, China Eastern has placed
an order for 16 Airbus A330-200 aircraft,
with delivery slated to start at the end of
2011 through to 2014. The aircraft will be
deployed on routes to Europe and Australia.
In a separate development the carrier has
signed a preliminary agreement to join the
SkyTeam airline alliance. Liu says the carrier
also had talks with the rival Star Alliance and
Oneworld before making its decision, but
declined to elaborate on the reasons for the
China Eastern is the last of China's big three
carriers to join a global alliance. Air China and
Shanghai Airlines are members of Star while
Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines is
also with SkyTeam, which was set up in June
2000 and now has 11 members, including
Delta Air Lines, Air France KLM and Korean
Air. -- William Dennis
Boeing may stop producing its 110-132 seat
737-600 single-aisle twinjet because of a lack
Speaking to AsianAviation in Kuala Lumpur,
Randy Tinseth, Boeing's vice-president for
marketing, said most of the 69 737-600 orders
the company has received to date have come
from Europe. While Boeing has yet to make
a final decision, Tinseth did not rule out the
possibility of the company dropping the model.
Tinseth could not say when a decision will
be made. There have been no recent orders for
Boeing received its first order for the
aircraft -- a direct replacement for the older
737-500 -- on 15 March 1995. The first flight
was completed on 22 January 1998 and was
followed by certification six months later. The
first aircraft was delivered to Scandinavian
Airlines System on 19 September the same
year, entering service six days later.
Questioned about a successor for the 737NG
family, Tinseth said Boeing will make a decision
at the end of this year.
"We have three options: have an all new
aircraft, re-engine the current models or
continue with them," Tinseth said. He added
that orders for the current models of the
737NG, with the exception of the -600, are
encouraging, noting that the -800 is very
popular with operators worldwide.
The 737NG comprises the bulk of Boeing's
aircraft orders. "Following a downturn,
demand for single-aisle aircraft by airlines
was typically the first to return in a recovery,"
Separately, Tinseth said Boeing expects the
current overcapacity in the airline industry to
ease over the next two years.
"With airlines phasing out older aircraft
and the network expansion of the bigger
carriers, overcapacity would not drag on," he
The International Air Transport Association
(IATA) has warned many times that
overcapacity will remain a high risk for airlines.
An estimated 1,400 new aircraft will be
delivered to airlines around the world this year.
Boeing expects orders for new aircraft
to increase next year as airlines return to
profitability, with Asia, Latin America and
Middle East markets in the forefront of the
"European and Japanese markets will lag
behind and take a longer time to recover,"
Tinseth said. He added that travel within the
region will probably grow about 6.5 percent
as airlines focus their expansion on fast-
developing south-east Asia. -- William Dennis
Boeing may stop producing 737-600 on lack of demand
China Eastern returns to full-year profit
NEWS IN BRIEF
MALAYSIAN low-cost carrier AirAsia X has
won rights to operate daily flights on the Kuala
Lumpur-Seoul route after 11 months of lobbying.
The airline plans to launch the service in October,
using Airbus A330-300 aircraft, to coincide with
the South Korean Prime Minister's visit to Malaysia
to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between
the two countries. The Malaysian Ministry
of Transport's Undersecretary for Aviation, P
Chandrasekaran, says AirAsia X's applications to
fly to the South Korean capital and Sydney were
previously rejected earlier this year. The carrier
then appealed to Prime Minister Najib Tun Abdul
Razak and was granted the rights for Seoul only.
Malaysia Airlines and Korean Air operate 12
flights a week each between the two capitals.
An AirAsia official says the carrier will continue
to press for the rights to fly to Sydney. The airline
also plans to apply to operate to Tokyo, Jeddah
and between Kota Kinabalu and Seoul.
Orders for other 737NG models, such as the -800, remain strong.
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