(From The Korea Herald)
By Ted Chan Aviation stewards Jaan Albrecht and Park Chan-bup look surprisingly calm considering oil prices are devouring their friends' profits by the second.
This year was supposed to be the first "normal" year since 2001, before terrorism, SARS, war in Iraq and stagnant economies roiled Star Alliance, a group of 15 global carriers of which Albrecht heads and Park's Asiana Airlines Inc. belongs to.
But record crude prices - what Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the International Air Transport Association, or IATA, calls the "fifth horseman" of the apocalypse - are burning up ticket revenue every second of flight.
Despite the latest setback, Park predicts third-quarter operating profit will reach 65 billion won, more than 10 billion won above analyst estimates.
"Through severe restructuring and cost-saving efforts last year, including sales of non-core businesses like catering and airport equipment supply, we are now better positioned to manage the surging oil prices," said Park, president and chief operating officer. …