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Heads of Korean budget carriers ask for govt support

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

Amid the falling number of passengers and suspension of routes due to the coronavirus outbreak, chief executive officers of Korean budget carriers on Friday released a joint statement asking for the government’s support. 

The country’s six low-cost carriers -- Air Busan, Air Seoul, Eastar Jet, Jeju Air, Jin Air and T’way -- said in a joint statement that the “aviation industry has been falling apart” since the nationwide boycott of trips to Japan last year and the latest outbreak of COVID-19. 

“Unlike other industries, the aviation business prioritizes citizens’ convenience and publicness. The industry has a great ripple effect to related businesses such as tourism, accommodation, services, logistics and aircraft maintenance,” the statement read. 

Stressing that some 15,000 people work for budget carriers directly and indirectly, the CEOs of the six low-cost carriers asked for three specific measures: collateral-free, long-term low interest loans to secure emergency business operation capital; exemption of airport charges; and a temporary raising of employment retention subsidies. 

The government announced Feb. 18 that it would support air carriers’ airport charges by accepting late payment. However, the low-cost carriers said the government needs to exempt all taxes for “practical support.” 

As for the employment retention subsidies, the air carriers asked for the government to increase the subsidies, given to employees who take leave during business suspension, from half of their salaries to two-thirds, considering the reduction of flight routes.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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