Airlines start shutting down flights into Korea

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Airlines start shutting down flights into Korea

Several airlines suspended flights to Korea as coronavirus cases spiked.

Local carriers also cut routes to Daegu, the Korean city hit hardest by the outbreak, in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

Air Macau will stop its four flights to and from Incheon on Sundays between March 1 and March 28. Philippine Airlines, the flag carrier of the Philippines, put a notice on its website on Sunday that it was canceling its route to Incheon. Flights connecting Busan and Manila will be reduced to four times a week from seven.

Vietnam Airlines followed suit and cancelled some flights to Incheon until March.

Singapore Airlines announced a temporary reduction on most of its flights to and from Incheon until March 26. The airline said on its website that the reduction was attributed to sagging demand on the route following the outbreak.

Bamboo Airways, a Vietnamese carrier, will suspend flights to Korea from Feb. 26 over coronavirus concerns.

Korean airlines have suspended or plan to halt flights to the southeastern city of Daegu, where hundreds of new coronavirus infections were reported over the weekend.

Korean Air Lines, the country’s biggest airline, canceled its flights to Daegu from the southern resort island of Jeju and Incheon on Sunday.

Korean Air said the two routes will be suspended until March 28.

The move came as Daegu - Korea’s fourth-largest city, with a population of 2.4 million - emerged as a hotbed of coronavirus infections.

Asiana Airlines, Korea’s second-biggest airline, said it will suspend its Daegu-Jeju route - its only domestic route connected to Daegu - from Tuesday through March 9.

Air Busan, a budget carrier of Asiana, said it halted its Daegu-Jeju and Daegu-Taipei routes last week.

Air Busan plans to close its office in Daegu in the coming weeks.

Jeju Air, Korea’s biggest low-cost carrier, said it will suspend its Daegu-Jeju route - its only domestic route connected to Daegu - from Monday through Feb. 29.

With such tough business conditions, domestic airlines are resorting to cost cutting in the wake of the outbreak.

Eastar Jet’s pilots agreed to have 25 percent of their pay cut between March and June, the company said Monday.

Air Busan announced an emergency mode with all of its senior executives having submitted resignations - a symbolic move in Korea meaning that top management will do anything they can to lift the company from a difficult situation.

The budget carrier said many of its 1,400 employees are set to choose from three options - working four days a week or taking 15 days or 30 days of unpaid leave - beginning in March.

Asiana Airlines executed a similar move last week, telling staff to take one-month unpaid leaves.

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