Korean Air has announced that it made a net profit of 173.4 billion Korean won (approx. US$1.46 billion) during the first quarter of 2004. This compares with a net loss of 375.1 billion won in the first quarter of 2003.
Operating revenue grew from 1.5 trillion won to over 1.66 trillion won, an increase of almost 11% on the corresponding period last year. Operating expenses rose by 9%, from 1.46 trillion to just over 1.6 trillion won, mainly due to higher fuel and maintenance costs, which grew by 18.4% and 18%, respectively. Operating profit soared dramatically, from 39.8 billion won to 73 billion won - an 83.3% increase compared to the corresponding period of 2003. The strength of Korean Won also enabled the airline to record considerable gain in non-operating income of 257.8 billion won.
Announcing the figures, Korean Air Chairman and CEO, Mr. Y. H. Cho, said: “The first quarter results reflect a healthy growth trend in both our passenger and cargo businesses. Our international passenger business performed well, while our cargo revenue increased spectacularly.”
Korean Air’s international passenger revenue rose by 9.2% compared to the corresponding period last year, up from 707.2 billion won to 772.2 billion won. Continuous demand from IT-related businesses and the overall economic recovery fuelled demand for cargo. Total income from domestic and export cargo surged remarkably, from 429.1 billion won to 524.9 billion won, a 22.3% increase on the figure for the corresponding period last year.
Mr. Cho added: “We are satisfied that we achieved a healthy growth in the first quarter. However, the recent soar in the fuel price would affect our earnings for the remaining year; which may potentially offset the positive effects from the favorable travel demand and economic recovery throughout the region.”