Featured Image: Luca Flores/Airways

Korean Air Soars in Q1 2024 with Strong Recovery

DALLAS – Korean Air (KE) reported a positive first quarter for 2024, driven by a significant rebound in passenger traffic. The company's overall revenue reached KRW 3.82 trillion (USD 2.84 billion), a 20% increase year-on-year. 

The strong recovery in passenger traffic and robust cargo demand were highlighted by KE as the key factors behind their success. This positive performance comes despite facing challenges like rising fuel costs, airport fees, and labor-related expenses.

HL7208 Korean Air Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo: Liam Funnell/Airways

Passenger Traffic, Net Income

Passenger revenue witnessed a particularly impressive rise, surging by 32% year-on-year to KRW 2.34 trillion. This growth can be attributed to the airline's strategic network expansion, particularly on routes to Southeast Asia (SEA) and Japan (NRT, HND, etc.). 

These destinations catered to the surge in tourism demand as travel restrictions eased. Notably, KE’s network capacity for passenger flights has nearly reached pre-pandemic levels, except for routes to China which are still recovering.

However, it's important to note that net income for Q1 2024 dipped slightly by 3% year-on-year to KRW 345.2 billion (USD 256.3 million). This can likely be attributed to the rising operational costs mentioned earlier. 

HL7403 Korean Air Cargo Boeing 747-400F. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

Cargo Holds Steady

While passenger traffic boomed, cargo revenue experienced a slight decline compared to the same period last year at KRW 996.6 billion, reflecting a stabilization in the global air cargo market. However, the Korean flag carrier remains optimistic about the future of its cargo business. 

Looking ahead to Q2 2024, the carrier plans to capitalize on the growing e-commerce market in China by strengthening partnerships and strategically allocating capacity on key routes. 

Overall, KE’s Q1 2024 report paints a picture of a company successfully navigating a period of recovery. Their focus on profitable routes and strategic expansion into growing e-commerce markets positions KE for even better results in the coming quarters.

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