Korean Air to Cut Flights on U.S. Routes Due to COVID-19
Korean Air Lines Co., the country’s largest airline by sales, says it will reduce flights on U.S. routes next month and use smaller planes due to declining demand amid the spread of the new coronavirus.
In a statement, the company said it will temporarily reduce the number of flights on the routes from Incheon to San Francisco, Honolulu and Boston during the period of March 7-28 to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on its business.
Korean Air also plans to use smaller planes on U.S. routes to Atlanta, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and New York next month to reflect declining travel demand.
The flight cuts to the United States are adding to woes at the company, which has already suspended some of its flights on Chinese and Southeast Asian routes since early this month.
Given it earns 30 percent of its overall sales from the U.S. routes, Korean Air looks set to report poor earnings results in the first half of 2020. Its net losses deepened to 624.87 billion won (US$529 million) in 2019 from 185.65 billion won in 2018.
Starting with U.S.-bound flights Saturday, the company plans to check all passengers on domestic and international routes to see if they have fevers while conducting deep cleanings and disinfections.
Earlier this week, one of its flight attendants tested positive for the novel coronavirus after serving on international routes, including one between Incheon and Los Angeles.
The national flag carrier said it will extend flight suspensions to China by one month through April 25. It offered 204 flights a week on 30 routes to China before the new coronavirus hit. The numbers fell to 57 flights on 10 routes and look set to drop further unless the virus is contained.