TAIPEI (CNA) — EVA Airways, one of the major international carriers in Taiwan, on Wednesday reported a net loss of more than NT$1.2 billion (US$40.13 million) for the first quarter of the year, citing slow demand due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, EVA Air said it suffered a net loss of NT$1.221 billion in the January-March period, compared with a net profit of NT$1.91 billion in the same period last year.
With those figures, the company posted a first-quarter loss per share of NT$0.25, plunging from an earnings per share of NT$0.40 in the first three months of 2019.
The carrier said its consolidated sales for the first quarter of 2020 plummeted 31.8 percent from a year earlier to NT$30.23 billion, with revenue generated by passenger flights in the first quarter down 28.1 percent year-on-year to NT$18.64 billion, as the pandemic forced lockdowns in many countries.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EVA Air said, its passenger numbers in the first quarter dropped 26.1 percent from a year earlier.
However, EVA Air said, sales generated in the first quarter by its cargo flights rose by NT$292 million, or 4.8 percent, from a year earlier to NT$6.38 billion on higher demand for the transportation of virus prevention products and personal protective equipment.
Under those circumstances, EVA Air said, cargo shipment costs increased in the first quarter, boosting its returns on such operations by 7.5 percent.
According to market estimates, air cargo shipment costs from Taiwan to the United States have increased 33-49 percent, as EVA Air, China Airlines (CAL) and other Taiwanese carriers have raised their prices.
On Wednesday, EVA Air reported consolidated sales of NT$5.89 billion in April, a decline of 13 percent from a month earlier and 62.34 percent year-on-year, also as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, EVA Air said, its board of directors on Wednesday gave approval for the company to issue up to NT$10 billion in unsecured corporate bonds.
Last week, China Airlines reported a first-quarter net loss of NT$3.77 billion, or loss per share of NT$0.7, due to crippled demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.