The number of international flight passengers plummeted from 1,736,466 to 78,599 year on year in the fourth week of March this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the number of flights totaled 26,706 last month, down 55 percent from the previous month.
At Incheon International Airport, the number of international flights dropped 63 percent month on month to 9,904. The numbers plunged 77 percent, 89 percent and 85 percent at Gimpo, Gimhae and Jeju, respectively. Last month, the number of domestic and international flight passengers added up to 1,743,583, an all-time low since records began in 1997.
At present, 87 percent of national flag carrier airlines’ 374 planes are staying on the ground due to travel restrictions across the world. Although Korean Air and Asiana Airlines are trying to minimize losses by using passenger planes for cargo transportation purposes, this is not easy for low-cost carriers.
South Korean airlines are resorting to measures such as wage reduction and temporary layoff. According to the Korea Civil Aviation Association, South Korean national flag carrier airlines’ sales losses for the first half of this year are estimated at 6,445.1 billion won, and they are likely to run out of cash before the end of the first half.