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Korean Air, Asiana eye reopening more routes to carry freight

All News 10:04 June 15, 2020

By Choi Kyong-ae

SEOUL, June 15 (Yonhap) -- Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc. said Monday they are considering reopening more international routes next month to carry freight amid the new coronavirus outbreak.

The country's two full-service carriers have suspended most of their flights on international routes since late March following lockdowns and entry restrictions around the globe due to virus fears.

Korean Air is considering resuming routes to Dallas and Vienna in July and increasing the number of flights on routes to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington, Paris, London, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, a company spokeswoman said.

This undated file photo shows planes of Korean Air and Asiana Airlines at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Asiana said it is also mulling restarting services on routes to Osaka, London, Paris and Istanbul next month, while planning to increase the number of flights to Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Bangkok, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Frankfurt.

In June, Korean Air resumed flights on 19 international routes, as it strives to offset a sharp decline in passenger travel demand with increased demand for cargo deliveries.

The routes that resumed services include Washington, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, Frankfurt, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Asiana restarted flights to Seattle and increased flights on routes to Frankfurt, Manila, and Phnom Penh last month.

In its self-help measures, Korean Air had 70 percent of its 20,000-strong workforce take paid leave for six months starting April 16, and it is in the process of selling non-core assets to secure cash.

Asiana also had all of its 10,500 employees start taking unpaid leave for 15 days a month in April until business circumstances normalize. Its executives have 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.

Korean Air plans to raise 1 trillion won by selling stocks, and the country's two policy lenders -- the Korea Development Bank (KDB) and the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Eximbank) -- plan to inject 1.2 trillion won into the carrier.

The two lenders also plan to inject a combined 1.7 trillion won into Asiana.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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