Korean Air pilot tests positive for coronavirus

June 24, 2020

A pilot of Korean Air Lines Co. has been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, the company said Wednesday, adding to the woes of the national flag carrier.

The pilot tested positive Tuesday for COVID-19 after showing symptoms of the virus during his vacation that began on June 18, a Korean Air spokeswoman said by phone.

Three fellow cockpit crew members who worked with the pilot were tested for the coronavirus. Two of them tested negative, and the third person is waiting for the test result, she said.

Two cabin crew members tested positive for the respiratory illness after serving on the Incheon-Los Angeles route in February and March, respectively.

Korean Air has suspended more than 90 percent of its flights on international routes since March, as more than 180 countries strengthened entry restrictions on incoming passengers due to virus fears.

In March, the airline offered a voluntary unpaid leave program to its employees for up to three months as the coronavirus outbreak 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.