China Southern Airlines expects a turnaround in its first-quarter earnings, crediting the Belt and Road Initiative as a major contributor, said the company on Friday.
The country's biggest airline operator by passenger capacity projected a 1.8 billion ($290 million) to 2 billion yuan net profit attributable to shareholders in the first quarter, compared to a net loss of 306 million yuan in the same period last year, it said in a filing to Shanghai Stock Exchange.
"The market demand was robust in the first quarter this year as led by several factors, including the Belt and Road drive", said the announcement, adding that Southern Airlines also benefited from a decreasing oil price and its strategic transformation has achieved initial result.
The Guangzhou-based company operates more than 600 passenger and cargo transport aircrafts, catering to domestic and overseas routes and linking such hubs as Guangzhou, Beijing, Urumqi and Chongqing. Its 2,000 daily flights cover 40 countries and regions across the world.
The Belt and Road refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, with Guangzhou, Urumqi and Chongqing, among other cities, included in the drive.
Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping while visiting Central Asian and Southeast Asian nations in 2013, the initiative aims to better connect the Asian, European and African continents and boost investment and consumption, and create demand and job opportunities.