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Incheon Airport cargo flat-lines, passengers recovering, but Korean Air and Asiana to raise fares

Korean Air Chairman and CEO, Yang Ho Cho
Korean Air Chairman and CEO, Yang Ho Cho

Incheon International Airport, one of Asia’s busiest cargo hubs, reports cargo volumes remained down by almost 15% year-on-year in Apr-2009 for the third consecutive month.

Hong Kong Airport reported earlier in the week that cargo volumes remained stubbornly low at -20% in April.

It is better than the 25% reductions reported by Incheon in Dec-2008 and Jan-2009, but the depressed cargo volumes reflect ongoing weakness in the underlying global economy.

Incheon International Airport passenger number growth and cargo volume growth: May-2008 to Apr-2009

Recovery could be hit by rising fares

Passenger numbers at Incheon have started to climb back slowly from lows established in Nov-2008, but recovery could be hampered by the swine flu outbreak, which has hit Japan hard in recent days, as well as moves by Korean Air (KAL) and Asiana Airlines to raise their international fares from next month to cover rising costs and the weak Korean won.

KAL’s fares to the US and Europe will rise 10% and 5%, respectively from 01-Jun-09 (the first increase since Apr-2006). Asiana will raise fares to the US and Europe by up to 15% and 10% respectively. Its last increase was a 2% rise in Dec-2006.

KAL is meanwhile increasing services to China (including new routes to Xi’an and Mudanjiang from 27-May-09 and 02-Jun-09 respectively. It is also ramping up codesharing with Japan Airlines on services to regional airports in Japan.

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