S. Korean airlines cut flights to Japan following MERS outbreak

June 24, 2015
(Yonhap)

(Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — South Korea’s two flag carriers plan to reduce flights to Japan from late this month to cope with a fall in customers in the wake of the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), company officials said Wednesday.

Korea Air Lines Co., the largest airline here, said it will not fly between Incheon and Kagoshima of Japan from Wednesday to July 17, while suspending flights to Komatsu and Akita throughout July. It will also scale back services for Okayama and Aomori in July.

Asiana Airlines Inc., the country’s No. 2 carrier, is taking similar action by cutting its service, which will affect six routes to Japan from late this month.

The airline said it will stop flying planes bound for Matsuyama from June 30 to July 28, Toyama from July 3-21 and Haneda from July 20-29. Flights to Hiroshima will also be cut.

The move came after Korean Air and Asiana Airlines reduced services for customers traveling to China. They had been expected to take similar action on other routes in the face of a drop in customers.

The airlines are facing massive cancellation of flights and a plunge in passengers amid fears over the spread of MERS, which has claimed the lives of 27 people since the first case was reported on May 20.

According to industry data, Korean Air saw about 115,000 customers cancel their flights during a three-week period from June 1-21. Flight cancellations reached about 107,000 for Asiana Airlines from May 31 to June 23.

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