Taiwan's China Airlines (CAL) is reporting an average load factor for the five months leading up to May of 72% - up five percentage points over the previous year - and continues to forecast a 1999 year-end return to profitability.

CAL says its average load factor from January to May was 83.5% and forecasts full year passenger loads to exceed 72% and cargo loads to reach 85%. No comparative figures are given. The carrier is attributing the gain to ongoing signs of recovery across the Asia-Pacific region and says its forecast year-end return to profitability is assured as long as interest rates, the local currency and fuel prices remain stable.

In April CAL reported passenger loads of 71.3% and cargo loads to 83.5% between January and March and forecast a NT$1.72 billion ($52.9 million) pre-tax profit for the fiscal year 1999, for which finalised results are yet to be released.

CAL suffered a pre-tax loss of NT$2.96 billion for the previous year when the downturn in Asian economies and the crash in February of an Airbus Industrie A300-600R that shattered passenger confidence in the carrier badly hit revenues.

Source: Flight Daily News