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Asiana Q1 losses deepen on virus impact

All News 17:59 May 15, 2020

SEOUL, May 15 (Yonhap) -- Asiana Airlines Inc., South Korea's second-biggest carrier, said Friday its first-quarter net losses sharply widened from a year earlier due to the fallout from the new coronavirus.

Net losses for the January-March quarter deepened to 683.26 billion won (US$555 million) from 89.18 billion won in the year-ago period, the company said in a statement.

"Passenger demand began to plunge in February due to virus fears. Increased cargo-carrying volumes fell short of offsetting the sharp decline in air travel demand," the statement said.

This file photo, taken April 9, 2020, shows Asiana Airlines Inc. planes grounded at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Asiana has suspended most flights on international routes since March due to strengthened entry restrictions in various countries to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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

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

In its latest self-help plans, Asiana put all of its 10,500 employees on unpaid leave for 15 days per month from April until business circumstances normalize. Asiana's executives have also agreed to forgo 60 percent of their wages, though no specific time frame was given for how long the pay cuts will remain in effect.

The country's two state lenders -- the Korea Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of Korea -- plan to inject a combined 1.7 trillion won into the cash-strapped carrier.

Asiana shifted to an operating loss of 292.02 billion won in the first quarter from an operating profit of 7.16 billion won a year ago. Sales fell 25 percent to 1.29 trillion won from 1.72 trillion won during the cited period.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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