Korean Air is facing some strong headwinds in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. As the virus spreads in South Korea, Korean Air is massively trimming its international flights. These suspensions are temporary. However, just exactly when these flights will resume is largely dependent upon governments and health organizations.
What routes are affected?
Korean Air is suspending or reducing routes as necessary. The full list and specific details can be found on the airline’s website. To the United States, Korean Air is suspending service on KE051/052 to and from Honolulu and KE023/024 to and from San Francisco for most of early March. KE085/086 to and from New York will be suspended from the end of March through April. The cities of Chicago, Boston, Dallas, and Washington will also see reduced service through April. Each of the latter three routes will lose two frequencies per week.
The airline’s Tel Aviv service is suspended through April 25th. With Italy becoming a recen virus hotspot, Milan service will also be suspended from March 8th through April 24th. Zagreb will be fully suspended from late March through April.
The cities of Barcelona, Madrid, and Vienna will lose one weekly service. Barcelona reductions will start from March 13th, while Madrid and Vienna frequency reductions start in April. Istanbul will lose one flight per week starting next week with a further reduction by two flights per week through April, starting March 30th.
Dubai sees three weekly flights cut through most of March, with one weekly flight restored in April. Korean will not operate flights 981 and 982 to Vladivostok through the end of March. On the other side of Russia, Moscow service is reduced by one weekly on KE923/924 schedules through mid-April.
On the regional level, it gets fairly messy. Korean Air operates several daily frequencies to a number of cities ranging from Singapore to Cebu to Guam to Jakarta. Passengers booked on those flights should check their flight status.
Why is Korean Air making these changes?
Around the world, health organizations and governments are taking major precautions to try and contain the spread of the coronavirus. Not too long ago, a Korean Air Boeing 777 was sent back to Seoul from Tel Aviv after officials only allowed a few Israeli citizens to disembark from the aircraft.
Amid this and a number of other international travel restrictions, Korean Air is trimming its schedules to minimize operational disruptions. But also, these moves will help Korean Air in a time of significantly reduced travel demand across the globe. Instead of operating empty (or near empty) flights, it makes more sense for Korean Air to trim its schedule and have its aircraft stay on the ground.
Passengers should continue to monitor their flight status for changes. Korean Air’s schedule likely will change and adapt to the outbreak as the situation continues to develop. This latest round of cuts is drastic and will severely reduce Korean Air’s network through March and April.
Have your flights been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak? What do you think about these Korean Air international flight suspensions? Let us know in the comments!