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Asiana to announce self-rescue plans this week amid virus

All News 13:47 February 17, 2020

By Choi Kyong-ae

SEOUL, Feb. 17 (Yonhap) -- Asiana Airlines Inc., South Korea's second-biggest passenger carrier, said Monday it will announce self-rescue plans this week amid the spreading coronavirus after posting hefty losses last year.

"The company will come up with self-rescue programs this week as external downside factors continue to weigh on the business," a company official said over the phone.

For the whole of 2019, Asiana's net losses deepened to 837.79 billion won (US$705 million) from 195.86 billion won a year earlier, due mainly to a sharp decline in Japanese routes.

Asiana to announce self-rescue plans this week amid virus - 1

South Koreans have increasingly opted not to travel to Japan since July when the neighboring country tightened regulations on exports to South Korea of three key materials used in making chips and displays.

In August, Japan officially removed South Korea from its list of countries given preferential treatment in trade procedures.

Japan took the moves in apparent retaliation against a Seoul court ruling that ordered Japanese companies to compensate South Korean workers forced into labor during World War II.

"On top of woes on the Japanese routes, the company is now faced with another worry, the spreading coronavirus outbreak, which is weighing on travel demand further," he said.

Since emerging from the Chinese central city of Wuhan in late December, the COVID-19 virus has killed at least 1,770 people in mainland China and reached over 20 countries, including as far away as the United States.

South Korea has reported 30 confirmed coronavirus cases.

With no end in sight for the virus outbreak, industries are deeply concerned about the economic fallout from the virus outbreak on their businesses.

Last year, Asiana also shifted to an operating loss of 427.42 billion won from an operating profit of 28.23 billion won a year ago. Sales fell 2.4 percent to 7 trillion won from 7.18 trillion won during the same period.


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