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Korean Air saved by cargo in Q2

Flag carrier posts W150b operating profit in earnings surprise

(Korean Air)
(Korean Air)
Korean Air beat earnings expectations, as it posted an operating profit of 148.5 billion won ($125.2 million) during the second quarter of this year due to its focus on cargo at a time airlines across the world are suffering unprecedented losses.

The airline’s overall revenue however dropped by 44 percent compared to the same time last year, according to its tentative financial report released Thursday.

But its efforts to streamline the business and prioritize its cargo business seem to have paid off, as revenue for the airline’s cargo service was up 94.6 percent from a year ago, marking 1.225 trillion won.

The national flag carrier has been flying passenger jets for its cargo service to keep the business afloat since the pandemic broke out. The company said it plans to convert some of its passenger jets into cargo planes in September by getting rid of seats as a way to cope with plunging demand for international air travel.

Despite being the only major airline in the world to have posted profits, the company said the second half will be extremely challenging, as the prolonged pandemic threatens the industry.

Earlier this week, the country’s largest low-cost carrier Jeju Air suffered an operating loss of 84.7 billion won over the same period -- a major setback for the carrier as it saw its deficit grow by over 200 percent on-year.

On Monday, Japan Airlines announced a net loss of 93.7 billion yen ($887 million) between April and June, a plunge from a quarterly profit of 12.9 billion yen a year ago.

By Yim Hyun-su(hyunsu@heraldcorp.com)
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