Korean Air posts record cargo revenue for Q2

The airline said the cargo business achieved its highest revenue of KRW1.5108 trillion (or around US$1.3 billion) during the second quarter.


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Korean Air recorded its strongest quarter for cargo amidst capacity shortages and lack of belly space as more than one third of its planes remain grounded.

In its non-consolidated financial results, the airline’s revenue jumped 16 percent year on year in Q2 to KRW1.9508 trillion (US$1,726 million), whilst operating profit climbed 31 percent to KRW196.9 billion (US$174 million).

This would be the fifth consecutive quarter that the carrier has recorded operating profit, with its previous cargo revenue record set two quarters ago (Q4 2020) at KRW1.360 trillion.

In a statement, the airline said the cargo business achieved its highest revenue of KRW1.5108 trillion (or around US$1.3 billion) during the second quarter, as companies tried to restock inventory ahead of peak-season surges and amidst container shortages in the shipping industry.

Also read: Korean Air flies ‘preighter’ to Miami on longest nonstop flight

The airline thinks uncertainties around global vaccination rates and new coronavirus variants will continue to affect the air cargo market in the second half of the year, with lack of available capacity pushing freight rates to remain high.

However, the airline noted that cargo demand for IT and e-commerce will stay strong due to a recovering economy and boost in companies’ restocking needs, saying that it will continue to use cargo-only passenger aircraft to maximize profits.

Whilst it expects passenger demand to be ‘sluggish’ in the second half of the year, Korean Air said it will operate its international routes flexibly while closely monitoring the market situation, including travel restrictions of major hub cities, vaccination rates, application of digital health passes, and new travel bubbles.



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