ASIAN AIR CARGO SUPPLEMENT – Korean grows fleet, despite weak market

Air cargo growth was only marginal in 2006, and the weak trend has continued into 2007, according to Ken Choi, president of Korean Air Cargo. He attributes the weakness to intense competition on price and quality in industries such as electronics, which is leading manufacturers to squeeze as many savings as possible out of factoryand […]


Air cargo growth was only marginal in 2006, and the weak trend has continued into 2007, according to Ken Choi, president of Korean Air Cargo. He attributes the weakness to intense competition on price and quality in industries such as electronics, which is leading manufacturers to squeeze as many savings as possible out of factoryand supply chain costs.

“Unless there are some killer items – such as the PC in the late 1990s, or cell phones in 2004-5, this sluggish market trend will continue,” he says. He is also concerned about what he calls “a very worrisome trend in China, where the market is experiencing an unprecedented expansion of cargo capacity.”

Despite this, Korean Air seems to be not letting up in its expansion of capacity. At the end of June it took delivery of its third B747-400 conversion, with fi ve more to come. The latest addition brings its fl eet to 21 B747-400Fs, of which 18 are production freighters, and it also continues to operate six leased B747-200Fs, something Choi says will continue for the time being.

Longer term, the carrier will be switching to 747-8s and 777Fs for its freighter fl eet, with orders for fi ve of each announced in December.