Korean Air projects booming 2010 profit

THANKS to a rebound in cargo demand, Korean Air has posted almost a seven-fold increase in its quarterly operating profit.The carrier made a 154 billion won (US$132 million) operating profit in the last calendar quarter of 2009, above a forecasted 120 billion won ($103 million). A stronger won, up 8.2 per cent against the dollar last year, helped reduce fuel costs.With technology exports growing and Japan Airlines recently filing for bankruptcy protection, analysts are predicting that Korean Air will win business from its floundering rival on transPacific and north-east Asian routes.So confident is it that the airline is expecting a 2010 operating profit of 800 billion won ($694 million), an increase of over 400 per cent from last year’s 154 billion won.“Korean Air’s business will fully normalise this year as both cargo and passenger demand rises, while supply remains low,’’ said Lee Ki-myung, analyst at Hyundai Securities. “Booming Korean IT goods exports will support the cargo business, though the won and oil prices pose uncertainties.”

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