SEOUL, Aug. 14 (Yonhap) -- Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc. -- South Korea's two biggest carriers -- suffered widened losses in the first half from a year earlier due to the impact of the new coronavirus on demand, the companies said Friday.
From January to June, Korean Air's net losses deepened to 619.49 billion won (US$523 million) from 482.01 billion won in the same period of last year, the company said in a regulatory filing.
Asiana's net losses also widened to 633.26 billion won in the first six months from 291.62 billion won a year ago, the company said in a filing.
The poor consolidated net results were mainly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit the airline industry hard amid virus fears in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, however, the two full-service carriers focused on obtaining more cargo-carrying orders to offset lower travel demand. This helped them report improved parent-based earnings results in the June quarter.
Helped by cargo demand, Korean Air shifted to a net profit of 162.4 billion won in the second quarter from a net loss of 380.78 billion won a year ago. Asiana swung to a net profit of 116.15 billion won from a net loss of 183.14 billion won during the same period.
The two carriers utilized some of their idling passenger jets as cargo planes in a move to ride out the current virus crisis.
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