Asian airlines post record losses

Korean Air Lines has recorded its largest loss in ten years: 684.1 billion won (US$493 million) in the three months ending in September. South Korea’s largest carrier blamed the high cost of fuel, which increased 64 per cent from the same quarter last year, and a weak won.

The won’s 13 per cent decline against the US dollar raised the value of dollar-denominated. Cargo traffic fell 9.5 per cent on reduced services, Korean Air said, while international travel demand departing from Korea dropped 15 per cent during the last quarter.

“The won, fuel – everything was unfavourable for Korean Air last quarter,” said Park Chang Suk of NH-CA Asset. “It’s disappointing that the company showed such poor results during the season when demand peaks.”

Asiana Air, South Korea’s second-biggest carrier, Air China, China Southern Airlines, and China Eastern Airlines, the country’s three biggest airlines, and Jet Airways (India) also all reported losses in the same quarter. The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation predicted that none of the Asian airlines will bring in a profit next year due to the global economic crisis.

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