Korean carrier aims to spread wings in Asia

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 February, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 February, 1997, 12:00am

Korean Air achieved a 3 per cent cargo volume growth in the Asian region in 1996, an executive says.

Simon Yang, general manager for Korean Air's cargo sales and marketing regional office, Southeast Asia, said its cargo volume handled in Hong Kong remained at the same level as in 1995.

'We expect around 4 per cent growth in cargo business in Hong Kong this year based on various economic indicators.' Korean Air planned to expand service routes in the Asian region including Shenzhen in southern China, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Dhaka in Bangladesh this year, Mr Yang said.

Korean Air operates three freighter services a week on each flight mainly destined to Korea, the United States, European countries and Japan.

The carrier also has cargo space in the bellies of 17 weekly passenger flights.

While Korean Air had been focusing on the US market, it had also tried to widen and diversify its market coverage globally.

The Intra-Asian market had great potential and was becoming more important, he said. Korean Air's market share in this area was still small.

Mr Yang said Korean Air would introduce three more B744 freighters over the next three years.

He described China as one of the important markets for Korean Air.

The carrier now had six on-line offices on the mainland.

Mr Yang said Korean Air serviced its clients through Traxon, the first global cargo network which provided Electronic Data Interchange Services to the air cargo industry.

This network allowed freight forwarders to check space availability and to make reservations.

They could also send airway bills and track and trace shipments through this system. Most international cargo airlines used Traxon's services.

Apart from connection with airlines, Traxon was used by more than 2,000 airline agents in about 5,000 offices globally up to December 1996.

Mr Yang said Korean Air had added a fuel surcharge in Asian countries ranging from about 3 per cent to compensate for costs which had jumped alarmingly last year.

'Korean Air will increase the rates as far as the market permits,' he said.

Faced with keen competition from other carriers, Korean Air was competing through better service and management rationalisation, he said.