Korean Air's B787-9 (Korean Air)
Korean Air posted an operating profit for a for a fifth consecutive quarter Friday, citing its efforts to boost cargo operations and reduce costs.
Revenue increased by 16 percent to 1.95 trillion ($1.73 million) and operating profit by 31 percent to 196.9 billion won ($174 million) compared to the same time last year.
Despite a drop in passenger demand due to the COVID-pandemic, which has dealt a severe blow to the tourism and aviation sectors, the airline’s cargo business racked up a record-breaking 1.51 trillion won in revenue.
“Its strong performance can be attributed to the increase in companies’ restocking demands in preparation for the economy’s recovery and rise in emergency supply shipments due to a capacity shortage in the shipping industry,” the airline said.
High freight rates caused by a lack of passenger flight belly cargo capacity and the slow recovery of the passenger market also played a role, it added.
Korean Air’s previous best revenue figure for the cargo business was during the fourth quarter of 2020 with 1.36 trillion won
Despite low global air travel demand as a result of new COVID-19 variants, the airline said it would continue to secure demand by operating international charter flights and its domestic routes to and from Jeju, a popular tourist destination in South Korea.
The airline said cargo demand for IT and e-commerce would stay strong during the second half of this year but expected passenger demand to remain sluggish.