Korean Air and Asiana both reported load factors above 82% on services to China for Aug-2010, a monthly record for both airlines (The Chosun Ilbo, 06-Sep-2010). The record load factors come after South Korea commenced issuing more visas and simplifying immigrations procedures for Chinese visitors in a bid to draw more tourists. Asiana reported a load factor of 83.6% on its China services for Aug-2010, carrying 240,000 passengers. Korean Air reported a load factor of 83% on its China services, carrying a monthly record of 352,000 passengers.
Korean Air and Asiana post record load factors on China services
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Delta Air Lines & Korean Air announce joint venture in shadow of China Southern's SkyTeam defection
It is surely no coincidence that Delta Air Lines and Korean Air announce their joint venture a mere two days after their SkyTeam partner China Southern Airlines – the largest in Asia, second largest in SkyTeam and sixth largest in the world – agrees to an investment and broad strategic partnership from Delta's rival, American Airlines, a member of oneworld.
Delta and Korean Air have long flagged their JV and the 29-Mar-2017 announcement is only a Memorandum of Understanding. The JV will have to be strong, with a high level of integration and trust, since it will involve profit sharing and not just revenue sharing.
Yet aside from that Delta and Korean have offered no new details, or even a time frame. Their announcement merely formalises what they have essentially been saying for months.
If it is to be leverage against China Southern-American, it should be noted that the two partnerships will be very different in the medium term and will not create significant competition with each other. The Delta-Korean JV comes with unfortunate timing for Korean Air, which continues to face slackening investor confidence and severe pressure in the Korea-China market.
Korea-Japan: LCCs are poised to overtake full service airlines for first time in Northeast Asia
For the first time in Northeast Asian aviation, low cost airlines are poised to overtake full service airlines in a significant way. The market concerned is that between Japan and Korea, where LCCs are rapidly growing, while full service airlines are decreasing capacity. Overall market size and visitor figures are at record highs. This refutes any legacy airline thinking that LCCs "steal" market share; LCCs are growing the market and becoming the future – as they already are in other parts in the world.
LCCs accounted for 1% of available seats between Japan and Korea in 2009, reached 37% in 2016, and so far in 2017 will account for 49% of the market. Limited airport data indicates that LCCs, operating at higher load factors, already transport more passengers than full service airlines, and by the end of 2017 LCCs should easily account for the majority of capacity.
LCCs already fly more airport pairs than their full service counterparts. The LCC development between Japan and Korea illustrates underlying LCC opportunity in Northeast Asia but also reflects on the importance of liberalisation, and for full service airlines to have efficient cost bases.