Chinese low-cost carrier Spring Airlines saw first-half profits increase 16.8% to CNY1.1 billion ($154 million).

Revenue for the six months ended 30 June increased 12.9% to CNY7.15 billion, while the airline’s operating expenses was CNY 6.5 billion, 10.7% higher than the same period a year ago.

Attributable net profit for the period notched a 17.5% rise to CNY854 million.

The Shanghai-based airline carried 1.08 billion passengers during the first six months of the year, a 13% rise year-on-year. ASKs grew 9.3%, while RPKs went up 12.2%.

During the period, the airline inducted five Airbus A320neos, bringing its total fleet to 86 aircraft. Its Japanese subsidiary ended the period with six Boeing 737-800s.

Spring currently flies to 191 destinations, most of which are to points within China. Domestically, the airline says it is working to diversify its route network. During the first half it established a base at Lanzhou in Northwest China.

On the international front, the airline notes that Thailand, Japan and South Korea still remain strong markets. However, capacity growth for Thai routes has slowed down in the first half of the year. Japan and South Korea, meanwhile, are showing strong demand.

Moving forward, the airline says that the domestic market continues to be its main revenue source, but warns that as a low-cost carrier, it is more susceptible to macroeconomic forces both within and around China. It has also flagged uncertainty over jet fuel pricing, as well as domestic competition between airlines, and with railway networks, as potential threats.