Asiana’s flight cancellations, delays rise due to pilot protest for higher wages

July 17, 2023

Flight cancellations and delays are on the rise on Asiana Airlines Inc.’s domestic and international routes after its pilots began a work-to-rule protest last month for higher wages, the company said Monday.

On June 7, the around 100 pilots at Asiana began the protest, in which they only do what is stipulated by company policies and rules.

The work-to-rule campaign, which includes such tactics as the “overuse” of jet fuel and “excessive” maintenance work, disrupts flights, causing delays, the company said in a statement.

From June 7 through July 16, Asiana had to cancel two international and 10 domestic flights, with 56 flights on international and domestic routes delayed due to the pilots’ collective action, the statement said.

“They are demanding a whopping 10 percent increase in basic pay for the 2019-2022 period as there was no wage increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is far higher than the company’s proposed 2.5 percent rise for the four-year period,” a company spokesman said over the phone.

Other unionized workers, except for pilots, have already accepted the 2.5 percent wage increase for the pandemic-hit period, he said.

The company is in talks with the union, but there seem to be differences between them over wages, the spokesman said, adding any industrial action could result in major damage to related parties.

Worse still, the pilots’ union plans to begin a strike next Monday, raising concerns over the planned walkout’s impact on passengers planning to travel, businesses that transport their products via aircraft and the tourism industry.

Airlines usually prepare for a sharp increase in travel demand as people take trips for summer holidays from the middle of July through the end of August.

Asiana plans to reorganize flights and reschedule existing flights as it expects the number of flights on international and domestic routes to plunge 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively, it said.

“Given the company’s current financial status, it is impossible to accept the union’s demands,” the statement said. “The company is calling for the union to cancel the planned strike immediately and have negotiations with the company in a sincere manner.”

This file photo offered by Asiana Airlines shows an A350 passenger jet. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
This file photo offered by Asiana Airlines shows an A350 passenger jet. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)