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New head of Korean Air vows stability

All News 15:13 January 20, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- The new chief of South Korea's largest flag carrier Korean Air said Friday that he will focus on continuing what has been working for his company rather than initiating changes.

"I have no plan to overturn what we have now just because I newly came into office. Instead, I plan to continue what we have been doing and continue to carry on what my predecessors have been doing," Cho Won-tae told reporters.

The 42-year-old took the top post at Korean Air last week. He is the eldest son of Cho Yang-ho, chairman of Hanjin Group, and a grandson of the airline's late founder Cho Choong-hoon.

"I will work to live up to people's expectations if they will give me a chance," he said when asked about public criticism over his apparent inheritance of the firm established by his family but now only partially owned by it.

Cho Won-tae, CEO of Korean Air (Photo courtesy of Hanjin Group)

Regarding the company's objectives for the year, Cho said it will continue to invest in new aircraft as it has over the past decade.

The airline earlier said it will introduce Boeing's latest B787-9 Dreamliner on its Los Angeles, Paris and London routes in March, as part of its ongoing plan to lower the average cost of its fleet.

Also in June, the airline plans to introduce the new CS300 aircraft, developed by Canadian manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace, for its domestic routes.

Korean Air posted favorable results throughout most of 2016, but concerns have recently been growing over its financial soundness amid an increase in the company's debt ratio and recent rises in global oil prices that may hurt its future business.

Cho dismissed such concerns, calling them temporary.

"There will not be any major problems as the company continues to enjoy robust business," he said.

When asked about plans to list Korean Air's two subsidiaries, including low cost carrier Jin Air, Cho said the company currently had no specific plans for initial public offerings (IPOs).

"Their IPOs continue to be delayed due to internal conditions, but we are continuing to review IPO plans," he said. "It is difficult to say exactly when they will be held."
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