Korean Air posted $1.3 billion in cargo revenue in the third quarter, accounting for more than half of the airline’s total revenue and up 12% from the same period last year.
Friday’s impressive result came despite weakness in the air freight market due to inflation and other consumer demand pressures. Airlines typically see higher shipping volumes leading into the end of September ahead of major Christmas shopping events around the world.
Bucking the pattern of airlines, Korean and Lufthansa, another major combination carrier, reported slightly lower freight revenue for the third quarter.
Korean Air said it has been able to sustain higher earnings, partly due to delivery restrictions on European routes caused by Russia’s closure of its airspace to Western carriers. It also continues to operate all-cargo passenger flights, albeit much less than at the height of the pandemic and earlier this year. And it expanded its freighter network to Chicago and Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio.
According to the International Air Transport Association, Korean Air is the fifth largest cargo airline by throughput. It has four Boeing 747-400, seven 747-8 and 12 777 cargo aircraft and also moves goods on the lower deck of its passenger fleet.
A rebound in passenger demand following the easing of travel restrictions, such as B. Pre-arrival COVID-19 testing gave a significant boost to the passenger side of the business. According to interim results, Korean Air achieved total revenue of US$2.57 billion.
Korean Air generated a record $2.2 billion in revenue in Q4 2021 in cargo revenue — a staggering 92% of the company’s total revenue.
The cargo share of most airlines’ revenue ranges from the low single digits to the mid-teens in non-pandemic times.
The company said it will increase capacity if it sees signs of late-season demand pick-up, particularly for fashion and e-commerce goods.
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The air cargo market continues to deflate under global economic pressures