SEOUL, May 10 (Korea Bizwire) – Asiana Airlines Inc. said Wednesday its net profit more than doubled in the first quarter from a year earlier on currency gains.
Net profit for the three months ended March 31 jumped to 96 billion won (US$85 million) from 44 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a statement.
“The won’s strength against the dollar sharply reduced the value of dollar-denominated debts in the first quarter, giving a boost to the quarterly bottom line,” a company spokesman said.
But rising oil prices and lower travel demand from China amid a row over the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system cut into the airline’s operating profit.
Operating profit fell 27 percent to 26.3 billion won in the first quarter from 35.8 billion won a year earlier, while sales were up 6.5 percent to 1.46 trillion won from 1.37 trillion won, it said.
To offset declining travel demand from China, Asiana has increased services to Japan and Southeast Asian countries. It plans to operate the A350 jet initially on the Incheon-Manila route from Monday to strengthen customer service.
China banned the sale of travel packages to South Korea since March 15 in retaliation against the THAAD deployment. It has opposed the U.S. anti-missile system as it saw its radar system could be used against it though Seoul and Washington have said THAAD is purely aimed at countering missile threats from North Korea.