March 23, 2020 09:19
Budget carrier Eastar Jet will halt all flights from Tuesday due to the coronavirus epidemic, the first complete shutdown of an airline because of the outbreak here.
According to an industry insider on Sunday, Eastar will suspend the Jeju route from Gimpo, Cheongju, and Gunsan from Tuesday until April 25. It already halted international flights on March 9.
"The more aircraft we keep flying the bigger the losses as customer demand has plummeted due to coronavirus," an Eastar spokesman said. "We're going to shut down for a month to minimize losses."
Eastar will let customers with prior reservations use Jeju Air instead if they want to fly between Jeju and Gimpo, Cheongju or Gunsan. Jeju Air signed a takeover contract with Eastar on March 2.
Eastar paid staff only 40 percent of their monthly salary last month, and the shutdown means it will also have trouble paying them in March and April.
The airline will inform staff on Monday how the salary will be paid and how services will be downscaled. It is also mulling a voluntary retirement scheme.
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