SOUTH KOREA. Korean Air expects its inflight retail sales to hit US$143 million this year, making it once again the world’s leading airline for onboard sales.

That represents a fall of some -5.3% on last year’s turnover of about US$151 million. In 2016 the company posted sales of about US$168 million.

Korean Air’s latest SkyShop inflight retail magazine features a cover image of ultra-premium Scotch whisky Royal Salute, a perennial favourite in South Korea.

Like its downtown and airport counterparts, Korean Air has been affected by the row between China and South Korea over the latter’s deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system in early 2017. The dispute led to a slump in Chinese visitors last year and through early 2018. While Chinese tourism is recovering, it remains far short of 2016 levels.

Korean Air’s inflight sales were driven by cosmetics and liquor, which together will account for almost 63% of onboard revenue this year. 

Projected year-end figures from Korean Air show that cosmetics and liquor remain the most popular goods.