Major carriers to see robust earnings in Q3 on increased cargo rates

SEOUL-- South Korea's full service carriers, including Korean Air Lines Co., are predicted to post strong earnings in the third quarter of the year on the back of a rise in air cargo rates, analysts said Sunday.

In a consensus estimate of 10 analysts by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news arm of Yonhap News Agency, Korean Air is forecast to record 176.8 billion won (US$150 million) in operating profit in the July-September period, a turnaround from an operating loss of 31.4 billion won in the same period a year ago.

Korean Air's sales are expected to come to 2.74 trillion won in the third quarter, up 30 percent from 1.59 trillion won a year ago.

According to the consensus estimate, the country's second-largest full service carrier, Asiana Airlines Inc., is expected to reach 42 billion won in operating profit in the third quarter, up more than three times compared with the same period a year ago.

The No. 2 carrier's third-quarter sales are predicted to grow 26 percent to 1.44 trillion won from 829.7 billion won a year ago.

The strong earnings of the two major carriers are forecast to have stemmed from increased air cargo rates on the strength of growing demand, analysts said.

"The air cargo rates are expected to continue to rise in the fourth quarter," said Jung Yeon-seung, an analyst from NH Investment & Securities Co.

Source: Yonhap News Agency