Booming aviation sector records 8.6b yuan profits
The mainland's airports and airlines reported total profits of 8.69 billion yuan last year, an amount that once would have taken the industry 10 years to earn, according to mainland media reports.
Vice-minister of the General Administration for Civil Aviation of China Li Jun said demand for aviation services would continue to rise on the mainland.
The industry would grow 15 per cent this year, he said.
'[Despite adverse conditions such as surging jet-fuel prices], the combined profit of the aviation industry in China last year reached the level of the accumulated earnings of 10 years,' Mr Li was quoted as saying in the People's Daily.
Mainland carriers earned 6.23 billion yuan last year as passenger traffic surged to 120 million from 87.59 million in 2003.
The top three carriers - Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines - saw earnings last year reach 5.39 billion yuan, compared with a combined loss of 2.7 billion yuan in 2003 due to the outbreak of Sars in the region and the subsequent decline in air travel.
China's aviation industry has suffered losses for four of the past six years, according to mainland media reports.
The reports put the industry's accumulated losses at 1.86 billion yuan.
Mainland carriers have a reputation for falling short of global standards in terms of cost controls and management.
The industry has, however, experienced a revival driven in part by the rapid growth of trade as well as tourism.