Airlines Plead for Gov't Help in Coronavirus Crisis

  • By Kim Kang-han

    February 11, 2020 10:28

    Airlines on Monday begged for government help in their desperate efforts to keep business afloat amid the coronavirus crisis.

    The CEOs of Korean carriers on Monday met with Minister of Land, Transport and Infrastructure Kim Hyun-mee and asked for cuts in airport usage fees and taxes as the coronavirus scare grounds many of their flights.

    They told Kim that the airline industry is facing its worst crisis yet due to plummeting passenger numbers on flights to China and Southeast Asia. The meeting brought together the heads of Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, all seven low-cost carriers, and cargo carrier Air Incheon.

    "Our financial situation is so severe that we may not be able to renew aircraft leases ending in the first half of this year," T'way Air CEO Jung Hong-geun told reporters after the meeting. "We're just trying to survive day by day, and it looks like this is going to be a very long year."

    Air Busan CEO Han Tae-keun said, "All of the participants in the meeting cited cash shortages as the biggest problem right now. We called on the ministry to cut airport usage fees and taxes."

    Kim promised the airlines not to revoke traffic licenses even if they halt flights on some routes to China and to come up with ways to help them. 

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