Hainan Airlines posted an operating loss of CNY5.1 billion ($756 million) for 2018, well higher than the CNY3-4 billion guidance it issued in March.
The result is a major contrast to the CNY4.29 billion profit reported for the prior year, for which it blamed increasing competition and global uncertainty, even as the Chinese economy was holding steady.
Operating revenue for the year ended 31 December 2018 climbed 13.1% to CNY59.9 billion. Costs, meanwhile, climbed 30% to CNY75 billion.
The airline’s ASKs during the year were 16.7% higher than the year before, with international services leading the charge. RPKs increased 14.6%, resulting in load factor slipping 1.5 points to 84.5%.
Its attributable net loss came in at CNY3.6 billion, compared with a net profit in 2017 of CNY3.3 billion.
Hainan's cash and cash equivalents at the end of 2018 stood at CNY28.5 billion, lower than the CNY31.9 billion from a year ago.
Over 2019, the airline says it will be working to increase its competitiveness, optimise its route network, and refine its brand image. However, it flagged potential risks including currency fluctuations, as well as increased competition.