SHANGHAI, April 27 (Reuters) - Air China's
net profit fell 40 percent in the first
three months of 2017, hit by rising oil prices and weakness in
China's flag carrier on Thursday posted profit attributable
to shareholders of 1.47 billion yuan ($213 million) for January
to March, down from 2.4 billion yuan during the same period last
Its rival China Eastern Airlines said
net profit attributable to shareholders was 2.82 billion yuan
for the quarter, up from 2.6 billion yuan a year earlier.
The fortunes of China's largest airlines have risen with the
ascent of the Chinese traveller, whose demand for overseas trips
have helped make it the world's fastest growing aviation market.
However, the airlines took many U.S. dollar-denominated
loans to buy planes as part of an ambitious fleet expansion,
exposing them to the depreciation of the yuan which
lost 6.6 percent of its value against the dollar last year.
Oil prices, which plunged in recent years, have also started
to firm, causing jet fuel costs to begin to rise.
The 2016 full-year results of China's three largest airlines
missed analyst expectations last month and some analysts are
predicting that earnings have peaked.
($1 = 6.8958 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; editing by Alexander Smith)