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Korean Air to extend unpaid leave for flight attendants


Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's largest airline, said Thursday it will extend unpaid leave for its flight attendants in the latest move to cope with a sharp decline in air travel demand amid the spread of the coronavirus.

Korean Air said all flight attendants who have worked for the flag carrier for at least two years can take the unpaid leave for a minimum period of six months and up to one year, beginning on July 1.

The latest move comes amid no clear sign of business normalization due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Korean Air has suspended more than 90 percent of its overall flights. It currently serves 101 flights a week on 26 international routes, sharply down from over 900 flights on 112 long-haul routes before the airline industry was hit by the pandemic.

Last week, Korean Air said its foreign pilots will take extended unpaid leave amid the new coronavirus outbreak.

In March, Korean Air offered a voluntary unpaid leave program to its employees for up to three months as the COVID-19 pandemic sharply drove down air travel demand and began to affect its earnings.

In April, Korean Air had 70 percent of its 20,000-strong workforce take paid leave for six months, and it is in the process of selling non-core assets to secure cash. (Yonhap)