China Aircraft Leasing Group (CALC) increased operating profit by 11% in the first six months of 2021 and said it was “seeing light at the end of the tunnel” as the industry recovers.

Operating profit rose to HK$353.5 million ($45.4 million) in the first half of 2021, from HK$319 ($41 million) one year ago. Profit attributable to shareholders dropped 9% to HK$302.6 million ($38.9 million). 

First-half revenue of HK$1.59 billion ($204 million) was close to 2020’s revenue of HK$1.64 billion ($210 million), CALC said in a statement on August 24, 2021. 

Whilst the global aviation industry is facing unprecedented challenges in the road to recovery, we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. ,” chief executive Mike Poon said. 

The lessor delivered six aircraft, sold four aircraft and disassembled one aircraft during the first six months of 2021. That means its fleet comprised 129 aircraft as of 30 June 2021, including 104 owned and 25 managed aircraft.

The company noted that 89% of its owned fleet are narrow-body aircraft serving mainly domestic and short-haul flights, a segment that has been relatively less affected by the pandemic. 

The lessor also says it is in a good position in terms of lease agreements.  

“With no lease agreements expiring in the next 12 months, CALC has been alleviated the pressure for remarketing of aircraft assets in the current volatile market in the near term,” the company said in a statement

At 78%, most of CALC’s owned fleet is leased to Chinese airlines, including in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. It added that the majority of its overseas clients are mainly flag-carriers or backed by strong shareholders.

It also gained first-time ratings from ratings agencies Moody’s and Fitch during the period and said it hopes to become an investment-grade issuer in the medium term.