BEIJING, July 15 (Xinhua) -- China Eastern Airlines, the country's second-largest carrier by passenger numbers, has forecast a hefty drop in its first-half profits because of higher fuel costs and slackening market demand.
In a statement filed to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the carrier said its first-half profits are expected to fall by more than 50 percent year-on-year.
The Shanghai-based carrier earned 2.45 billion yuan (388.89 million U.S. dollars) during the first half of 2011, according to the statement.
The company said slower growth in passenger traffic and sluggish demand in the global cargo market hindered the growth of its air transportation sector, while rising jet fuel prices pushed up operation costs.
China Southern Airlines, the country's largest carrier, earlier this month predicted a sharp first-half profit decline, citing similar reasons.