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(LEAD) Korean Air passengers required to wear masks from Monday

All News 10:56 May 15, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS Asiana's plan and background in paras 5-11)

SEOUL, May 15 (Yonhap) -- Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's biggest airline, said Friday it will require all passengers on domestic routes to wear masks on board beginning next week.

Korean Air has joined its global peers, like United Airlines Inc. and American Airlines Inc., to adopt the rules requiring masks to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

"It is obligatory for all passengers on domestic flights to wear masks beginning Monday. The company is considering applying the rules to international flights as well," a company spokeswoman said over the phone.

This photo, taken May 13, 2020, shows Korean Air planes at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Early this month, the International Air Transport Association, which represents global airlines, recommended the mandatory wearing of masks or face coverings on flights to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Korean Air plans to resume flights on 19 international routes next month as it strives to offset a sharp decline in passenger travel demand with an increased demand for cargo deliveries.

The resumption is aimed at preparing for increased travel demand after countries ease their entry restrictions on incoming passengers to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said.

Its reopening routes include Washington, D.C., Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, Frankfurt, Singapore, Beijing and Kuala Lumpur.

Asiana Airlines Inc., the country's second-biggest carrier, said Friday it does not currently apply the face mask rules to its passengers.

Asiana plans to restart flight services on 13 international routes -- one to Seattle and 12 to Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai -- June 1, while increasing the number of flights on six other routes to cities that include Frankfurt, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The decision is aimed at meeting business travel demand though leisure travel demand has yet to recover amid the virus fears, the company said.

The country's two full-service carriers have suspended more than 90 percent of flights on international routes since late March following country lockdowns and entry restrictions.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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