Airlines reduce aircraft fleets amid pandemic crisis

Planes are lining up at Incheon International Airport. (Yonhap)

South Korean airlines have dramatically reduced their aircraft fleets over the past two years as demand for air travel has dried up due to the protracted COVID-19 pandemic, data from the United States showed on Wednesday. ‘industry.

The total number of planes operated by the country’s 10 carriers currently stands at 372, up from 414 in 2019, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Transport.

Korean Air Lines Co., the country’s largest full-service carrier, operates 159 planes, up from 170 in 2019, and smaller rival Asiana Airlines Inc. lost three planes during the period to now have 83.

Other budget airlines have rationalized their aircraft fleets, while heavily indebted budget airline Eastar Jet Co. slashed 19 jets as it filed for receivership in January.

Local airlines have reduced the number of planes by returning jets whose leases have expired as part of cost-cutting efforts amid COVID-19.

Local airlines operated some 237,000 international routes in the first eight months of 2019, but the number fell 80% to 46,000 during the same period this year due to the prolonged pandemic, according to the ministry. (Yonhap)

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