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More virus-hit duty free shops, others given deep cut in rental fee

All News 16:30 June 01, 2020

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will expand the reduction of rental fees for airport duty-free shops and other commercial facilities hit hard by the new coronavirus outbreak, the transport ministry said Monday.

State-run Korea Airports Corp. (KAC) and Incheon International Airport Corp. (IIAC) will cut rental fees for duty-free shops, banks, restaurants and other businesses at the country's 15 airports by up to 75 percent by August, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

IIAC operates the country's main Incheon International Airport, and KAC operates 14 other local airports.

This photo taken on May 27, 2020 shows a duty-free shop at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, just west of Seoul, amid the new coronavirus outbreak. (Yonhap)

"Duty-free shops and other commercial facilities are an 'essential industrial ecosystem' for stable operation of the airports. The government plans to prepare for the time when air travel demand recovers and airlines resume flights (after the coronavirus slows down)," a ministry official said in the statement.

The government will cut rental fees for businesses run by conglomerates and small and medium-sized enterprises at the airports by up to 50 percent and for smaller businesses by up to 75 percent, the statement said.

Air travel demand has plunged in recent months as a growing number of countries strengthen entry restrictions on incoming passengers to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April, the government announced a plan to cut rental fees by 20 percent for shops run by conglomerates and SMEs and by 50 percent for smaller businesses from March until travel demand recovers to 60 percent of pre-crisis levels.

The expanded reduction will be retroactively applied to the rental fees from March. And the airport shops will be allowed to pay their delayed fees by August, it said.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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