The Korea Herald


Korean Air alters flight schedules to Cairo amid Egypt protests

By 고영아

Published : Jan. 30, 2011 - 21:23

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South Korea's flag carrier Korean Air said Sunday it has altered schedules for its flights to Egypt amid raging anti-government protests there.

Currently, Korean Air flies to Cairo via Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, landing in the Egyptian capital at night. But it has adjusted the schedule so that the flight will arrive at Cairo in the morning to avoid curfew there.

"The flight that departed for Cairo on Saturday was initially scheduled to land there at 9:45 p.m. Sunday but it will reach Cairo the following morning," Korean Air said in a release.

According to the carrier, its next flight bound for Cairo, scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Monday, has been pushed back to 1:15 a.m. Tuesday.

But a return flight from Cairo, which left Egypt earlier Sunday, will come home as scheduled at 7:15 a.m. Monday.

"We have an emergency task force monitoring the developments in Egypt," a Korean Air official said. "We will keep travelers posted on any future changes to our schedules."

Earlier Sunday, the foreign ministry in Seoul had said Korean Air had stopped taking passengers bound for Cairo, starting with the flight due in Egypt Saturday.

Separately, the ministry has suspended classes at a Korean school in Egypt attended by some 40 elementary school students.

"So far, there have been no reports of damage among South Koreans living in Egypt despite the deepening chaos there," the official said.

The South Korean embassy in Cairo is currently putting together an emergency plan to evacuate Korean nationals in the event of a serious crisis. Those working in the Egyptian capital and their families will leave the area in the next two to three days.

Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, which operates Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors in Cairo, has temporarily shut down its African headquarters and relocated its 12 employees to its Middle East headquarters in Dubai. Their family members are scheduled to fly back home via Dubai.

Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, which also have bases in Cairo, will also help families of their employees return to South Korea. In addition, 61 volunteers of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) will fly home on Tuesday.

More than 100 people across the North African nation are feared dead and thousands have been injured in ongoing anti-government demonstrations in which people are demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down. (Yonhap News)