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Earnings for 3 largest Chinese airlines rise

    Chinas three biggest airlines have reported a rise in third-quarter net profit on strong domestic travel demand.

    China Southern, Asia’s biggest carrier, saw its net profit for July-September surge 29.4 percent year on year to 4.28 billion yuan (US$643.7 million), according to a stock exchange statement yesterday.

    Flag carrier Air China said its third-quarter net profit surged 31.4 percent annually to 4.95 billion yuan, according to a statement late last week to the Hong Kong exchange, where it is listed.

    The carrier said strong economic growth in the quarter, and buoyant demand during the summer holiday season from July to August, boosted earnings.

    “Despite challenges the aviation industry still faces such as foreign exchange rate, oil price, geological and political situations... the overall market supply and demand trend improved,” Air China said in a statement.

    Chinese carriers have benefited from a boom in domestic and international air trips as the country’s middle class spends more on travel and leisure.

    Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines reported slower growth than the others for the third quarter, up 3.1 percent to 3.59 billion yuan.

    Its investment of 375 million euros (US$436 million) for a 10 percent stake in Air France-KLM was completed on October 3.

    Shares in China Southern and Air China were both boosted yesterday by the upbeat earnings.