Korean Air Q3 losses deepen on virus impact

A Korean Air B787-9 passenger jet (Yonhap) Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Nov 5, 2020, Yonhap. Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea’s biggest carrier, said Thursday its net losses widened in the third quarter from a year earlier amid the pandemic, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Net losses widened to 385.93 billion won (US$343 million) in the three months that ended in September from 211.85 billion won in the same period of last year, the company said in a statement.

Korean Air has suspended most of its flights on international routes since March as travel demand dried up amid virus fears. Flights to Tokyo, Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Moscow and U.S. cities, except for Hawaii and Las Vegas, are currently available on long-haul routes.

To ride out the unprecedented pandemic, Korean Air put up its non-core assets for sale to secure operating capital and began to carry cargo in cargo seat bags, which attach to the seats of passenger jets.

In September, the carrier added two converted B777-300ER planes on U.S. routes to transport cargo.

The move is in line with global peers, which are now using their passenger planes for cargo flights, either by using cargo seat bags or removing seats.

The company expects passenger demand will continue to remain low in the fourth quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic prolongs, but seasonal cargo delivery demand for semiconductors, auto parts and e-commerce goods will help support the bottom line.

Operating profit plunged 94 percent to 7.59 billion won in the third quarter from 117.88 billion won a year ago. Sales fell 53 percent to 1.55 trillion won from 3.28 trillion won over the cited period.

The quarterly earnings results are parent-based ones. Consolidated financial results will be released next week, the company said.

From January to September, net losses also deepened to 915.55 billion won from 626.86 billion won in the year-ago period.

Operating profit fell 44 percent to 91.7 billion won in the first nine months from 164.63 billion won a year ago. Sales declined 41 percent to 5.55 trillion won from 9.35 trillion won during the cited period.

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