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Korean Air offers voluntary leave program amid virus fallout


Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's national flag carrier, has offered a voluntary leave program to its employees, sources here said Tuesday, as the company suffers a sharp drop in travel demand amid growing angst over the novel coronavirus.

Korean Air's flight attendants who have worked for the company for at least two years can take up to three months of voluntary leave starting this month, according to sources.

This is the second time that the air carrier has offered such a program to its employees since November.

Korean Air has also offered an unpaid leave program to its foreign pilots, saying those who applied for the program will be allowed not to work starting next month.

Korean Air employs some 2,900 pilots, with 390 of them being foreign nationals.

"The number of foreign pilots who are expressing concerns about South Korea's novel coronavirus situation is growing, so that is why we are offering such a program," a Korean Air official said.

Korean Air has suspended a large number of its flights since last month following the novel coronavirus outbreak. The company has also reported two virus-infected flight attendants. (Yonhap)