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China's top airlines see recovery in traffic, but not in profits

Weak performance during holidays hurt bottom lines, but outlook looks brighter

The Lunar New Year period is usually highly profitable for Chinese airlines, but official discouragement of travel dampened holiday traffic this year.     © Reuters

HONG KONG -- As China recovered from the worst of its battle against the coronavirus pandemic and life gradually returned to normal, the country's airlines were able to do what other global aviation companies were unable to amid border closures and lockdowns: cash in on their large base of domestic passengers.

But while passenger traffic for air travel within mainland China has showed a remarkable recovery, the country's top three airlines posted deep first quarter losses, adding up to $2.2 billion.

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