Korean Air is back in the black as travellers return to the skies

SOUTH KOREA. Korean Air, South Korea’s largest carrier, has announced a +75.8% year-on-year surge in third quarter profits, as passenger traffic bounces back from SARS and a stronger Won helped ease interest burden on foreign currency.

The surge follows three consecutive quarter losses as the impact of SARS and war in Iraq took their toll on the airline industry.

“Passenger traffic recovered to pre-SARS levels and a stronger Won helped ease interest burden on foreign-currency denominated loans quite sharply,” commented Korean Air spokesman Lee Hyung-woo.

Korean Air unveiled a net profit of KRW 227 billion won (US$193.8 million) for the third quarter ended 30 September, an increase of +75.8% compared to the same period last year. Sales remained flat at KRW 1.7 trillion.

The percentage of seats filled, or load factor, on planes has been improving. Korean Air’s average load for passengers recovered to above 70% at the end of September, from around 60% in the first half.

As reported earlier by The Moodie Report (11 November), Korea National Tourism Organization data indicated that the number of Korean travellers going abroad grew +12.3% to 591,000 in September, rebounding from a deep first-half slump triggered by SARS.

Food & Beverage The Magazine eZine