SEOUL, Aug. 6 (Korea Bizwire) — Korean Air Lines Co. said Thursday it shifted to a net profit in the second quarter from a year earlier helped by strong cargo demand despite the new coronavirus outbreak.
The country’s biggest carrier swung to a net profit of 162.4 billion won (US$137 million) in the April-June quarter from a net loss of 380.78 billion won in the same period of last year, the company said in a statement.
“Increased cargo deliveries helped offset a sharp decline in passenger travel demand amid virus fears,” the statement said.
Looking ahead, Korean Air said it will focus on achieving as many cargo deals as possible to deliver quarantine goods, e-commerce products and semiconductor equipment in the second half of this year.
To stay afloat amid virus woes, Korean Air is in consultations with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to remove seats on some of its 26 B777-300ER passenger jets and fill the space with cargo.
The national flag carrier aims to start operations of the converted planes this month upon approval from Boeing and the transport ministry.
The carrier expects its overall cargo volumes to increase by at least 10 tons to 34 tons if the conversion plan is approved. It has a fleet of 143 passenger jets, including 26 B777-300ERs and 23 cargo planes.
Korean Air also shifted to an operating profit of 148.5 billion won in the second quarter from an operating loss of 101.5 billion won a year ago. Sales fell 44 percent to 1.69 trillion won from 3.2 trillion won during the same period.
The company released parent-based figures Thursday, and its consolidated quarterly financial results will be available next week, a company spokesman said.
It has suspended most of its flights on international routes since March, as more than 180 countries and territories closed their borders or imposed entry restrictions on incoming passengers amid virus fears.