Korean Air’s cargo revenue soared 86.4 percent in the second quarter as demand nearly doubled and strong pricing pushed yield up 69.1 percent.
The world’s largest international air freight carrier said in its full report on the quarter ending June 30 that cargo traffic leaped 26.2 percent over the same quarter a year ago to a record 2.5 billion freight metric kilometers, giving the carrier $1.02 billion on its freighter and belly cargo business.
Korean Air said the gains were led by growing demand for technology shipments, an anchor for South Korea’s export-focused economy.
By The Numbers: Asia-Pacific Airlines' Freight Traffic.
The results at Korean, which gets almost all its cargo revenue from international shipping, were part of a resounding recovery in air freight demand that began in late 2009 following steep declines during the global trade downturn.
The gains for Korean Air included a 94.2 percent increase in shipping tied to the Americas, Korean Air’s largest market, and a 112.3 percent jump in air trade with Europe.
The strong demand pushed yield, an indication of pricing strength, up 69.1 percent to 32.3 cents per pound. Measured in Korean won, yield advanced 52.3 percent to 376.3 won, the highest level the airline has seen in at least five years.
There were signs that the improvement leveled off during the quarter. Korean’s strongest month for cargo traffic came in May, when traffic grew 29.6 percent over the same month the year before. Traffic slipped back 6.1 percent sequentially from May to June, although June traffic still was more than 25 percent ahead of the same month last year.