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Korean Air encouraged by recovery

Korean Air Co., Asia's fifth-largest carrier by sales, said it filled more seats with passengers last month as an economic recovery encouraged more people to travel overseas. It also filled more cargo space.

The airline filled 70 percent of available seats with paying passengers in April, a gain from 58.7 percent last year, Korean Air said in a statement to the Korea Stock Exchange.

More South Koreans are traveling overseas after their plans were disrupted last year by the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. The recovery in South Korea's economy, which is forecast to grow about 6 percent this year, may encourage more people to travel overseas in 2004.

Korean Air filled 77.3 percent of cargo space last month, more than the 70.7 percent a year ago as shipment of mobile phones, semiconductor chips and other electronic goods increased to North America, Europe and Southeast Asia.