Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bumpy ride, but Cathay flies back into the black-06 August, 2009

HONG KONG - Cathay Pacific has edged to profit in the first half of 2009 as fuel-hedging gains made up for a 27 percent drop in revenue.

Chairman Christopher Pratt said the decline in demand had bottomed out, but warned of further difficulties ahead, with fuel prices remaining a concern.

''The global aviation industry, hit hard by soaring fuel prices in 2008, is now having to confront one of the most severe demand downturns in living memory,'' he said.

The airline reported a net profit of HK$812 million for January to June, compared with a loss of HK$760 million a year earlier.

Turnover fell to HK$30.9 billion.

Cathay's fuel-hedging contracts in the first six months yielded mark-to-market gains of HK$2.1 billion, compared with a loss of HK$7.6 billion for full-year 2008, the company said.

Earlier this week,Cathay chief executive Tony Tyler said, "I have not seen the airline industry in such bad shape in the 30 years that I have been in the business. Frankly, I doubt that it's ever been this bad.

"As an airline, we are suffering a toxic combination of a collapse in our front end and cargo revenues, skinny yields at the back of the plane, volatile fuel prices and an international financial crisis that shows no sign of ending."
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