South Korean carriers Asiana Airlines and Jin Air continued to enjoy an international recovery in the second quarter, with Jin citing strong Japanese and Southeast Asian passenger markets.
Asiana Airlines saw its operating profit decline 48.5% year on year, to W109 billion ($111 million), in the three months to 30 June, although revenues rose 11.3% to W15.7 trillion,.
The Star Alliance carrier, however, swung to modest net profit of W3.5 billion, compared with a net loss of W1.17 billion in the second quarter of 2022, largely due to foreign exchange gains as well as reduced non-operating losses.
International ASKs and RPKs both more than doubled year on year, while international load factors rose 3.6 percentage points to 83%.
As for domestic traffic, ASKs fell 3% year on year and RPKs fell 6%. Domestic load factors slipped 2 percentage points to 87%. Nonetheless, domestic passenger revenue rose 7% on improved yields.
The carrier says that passenger traffic has improved on routes to the Americas, Europe and Japan, although cargo sales have decreased owing to increased competition following the coronavirus pandemic.
During the second quarter, Asiana’s total cargo revenue fell 54% to W376 billion. Cargo sales fell to the Americas by 58%, to Europe 45%, and to Southeast Asia 55%.
International cargo capacity, measured in ATKs, rose 4% year on year, while RTKs dropped 14%. Cargo load factors fell 16 percentage points to 77%, and cargo yields dropped a precipitous 46%.
As of 30 June, the carrier had 78 in-service aircraft.
Korean Air is in the process of obtaining international regulatory approval for a merger with Asiana.
Separately, low-cost operator Jin Air swung to a second-quarter operating profit of W17.8 billion, compared with an operating loss of W15 billion a year earlier
Revenue for the three monthsto end-June was W259 billion, more than double the figure a year earlier. The sister unit of Korean Air also generated a net profit of W10.8 billion, compared with a net loss of W28.7 billion a year earlier.
In a graphic, the carrier highlights changes in traffic patterns caused by the end of travel restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the second quarter of 2022, 15% of Jin’s revenue derived from international passengers, and 78% from domestic. The second quarter of 2023 saw this reversed, with international passengers accounting for 62% of Jin’s revenue, and domestic passengers 30%.
The Japanese and Southeast Asian markets have been particularly strong on the international front.
Jin’s second-quarter international ASKs rose eight-fold year on year, while international RPKs rose nine-fold. International load factors rose 20.1 percentage points to 87%.
Domestic ASKs, meanwhile, fell 27% and RPKs were down 25%. Domestic load factors rose 2.5 percentage points to 90%.
On 8 August, Jeju Air reported that it had swung to a second quarter operating profit of W23.1 billion, with revenues more than doubling to W370 billion.