China Eastern traffic in Jan increases 6% due to domestic market

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China Eastern Airlines posted a 6% increase in passenger traffic in January but this was due to the domestic market as its international passenger traffic plummeted.

Total RPKs increased 6% year-on-year due to a 20% rise in domestic passenger RPKs but international passenger RPKs fell 17%, China Eastern says in a statement.

The overall passenger load factor, meanwhile, fell 1 percentage point to 70% because total ASKs increased 9% with domestic ASKs up 23% and international ASKs down 12%, it says.

In real terms, the airline's total passenger numbers increased 10% to 3.2 million.

Domestic increased 18% to 2.7 million, international passenger numbers fell 25% to 359,000 and Hong Kong and Macau passenger numbers fell 4% to 179,000.

While China Eastern's passenger traffic had mixed results, the airline's cargo business was down across the board.

Total revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) in January fell 37% with domestic, international and Hong Kong/Macau RFTKs down 20%, 42% and 53% respectively, it says.

Shanghai-based China Eastern in recent months has been losing money and its owners have been in negotiations to merge the airline with Shanghai Airlines.