SEOUL, May 11 (Korea Bizwire) – Korean Air Lines Co. swung to the black in the first quarter from a year earlier on currency-related gains, the company said Thursday.
The country’s flag carrier shifted to a net profit of 559.2 billion won (US$496 million) in the January-March quarter from a net loss of 174.9 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a statement.
“The won’s strength against the dollar drove down the dollar-denominated debts and gave a boost to the quarterly bottom line,” a company spokesman said.
But operating profit fell 41 percent to 191.5 billion won in the first three months from 323.3 billion won a year ago. Sales were little changed at 2.866 trillion won from 2.867 trillion won during the same period, the statement said.
Lower travel demand from China and increased spending on jet fuel resulted in a “sharp” decline in operating profit, the spokesman said.
Korean carriers were hit by the Chinese government’s decision to ban the sale of travel packages to South Korea from March 15 in retaliation for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea.
China has opposed the THAAD installation, arguing its powerful X-band radar could be used against it. But Seoul and Washington have said the system is only aimed at countering missile threats from North Korea.