Solid cargo demand helps Korean Air to post Q3 profit

Thiago B Trevisan /

South Korea’s flag carrier, Korean Air, reported a net profit in the third quarter of 2021. The positive results were largely attributed to the increase in domestic travel and a solid cargo demand. 

In Q3 2021, Korean Air reported a net profit of $113 million, a notable increase compared to a net loss of $326 million in Q2 2021. The airline’s revenue increased to a record sum of $1.8 billion since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Total operating profit amounted to $370 million during Q3 2021.

According to the carrier, international passenger demand remained low during the third quarter of 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic and travel restrictions. However, the airline saw a “stronger demand on the Americas network and resurgence in summer domestic travel”, which attributed to a 55% increase in sales compared to Q2 2021. 

The airline’s cargo revenue grew to $1.39 billion, the highest quarterly revenue recorded to date. The boost to cargo shipment volumes and rates during the quarter was driven by bottlenecks in the global supply chain, an increase in air cargo demand, and a lack of passenger flight belly cargo capacity.

In a press statement dated November 12, 2021, Korean Air announced: “Cargo business performance forecast is to remain robust through the fourth quarter with holiday and year-end peak demand, and continued supply imbalance.”

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter of 2021, Korean Air expects passenger traffic to remain low. However, the carrier believes that with easing travel restrictions, an increase in passenger demand is possible. 


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