Korean Air fears collapse due to coronavirus
Korean Airlines, the flag carrier of South Korea, has been heavily affected by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, as at least 25 countries have imposed restrictions of entry to passengers from the country. The situation is so intense, that Korean Air is reportedly balancing on the brink of survival.
Korean Air president Woo Kee-hong has reportedly warned the employees that they were facing a much larger crisis than the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis, Reuters reported on March 9, 2020.
The carrier has cut over 80% of its international capacity due to global travel restrictions and grounded approximately 100 passenger aircraft. “And what is more daunting is that the situation can get worse at any time and we cannot even predict how long it will last,” Woo is quoted as saying in an internal memo in the same publication.
On March 9, 2020, Korean Air listed 157 of its international routes under its temporary schedule, the vast majority of which have been suspended, while others are still operated with reduced frequency. The airline also warns its passengers that 25 countries have imposed entry restrictions that apply to passengers who have visited or transited through South Korea as of March 9, 2020.
Korean Air has a fleet of 173 aircraft, including cargo, based on planespotters.net data. Among its passenger aircraft, the carrier operates a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing airplanes, including ten Airbus A380 superjumbos, 44 Boeing 777s, and ten 787 Dreamliners.