Jin Air employees plan to hold a rally Wednesday against the Transport Ministry’s decision to have a hearing on whether to revoke the business license held by Korean Air’s budget affiliate Jin Air.
The budget carrier is under fire for violating the nation’s aviation law that bans airliners from seating foreign members on their board of directors.
Employees said Tuesday they will gather in front of the government complex in Jongno-gu, central Seoul, at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The protest is geared to criticize the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for its “gapjil,” or abuse of power, practices that “threaten the survival” of employees.
The Transport Ministry said it would hold a hearing on July 30 in Sejong to decide whether to cancel Jin Air’s business license, citing that the airliner violated local transport laws by appointing Cho Hyun-min, the youngest daughter of Korean Air Chairman Cho Yang-ho, as a board member of Jin Air despite her being a US citizen.
Korean aviation law does not allow foreign nationals to become a board member at a Korean airline for security reasons, but Cho had been seated at Jin Air’s board of directors from 2010 to 2016.
A Jin Air captain surnamed Park emphasized how thousands of employees are at risk of losing their jobs for the owner’s mistake.
“License cancellation is not an option,” said Park. “It can take away the means of living for thousands of people in one blow.”
Jin Air employees also slammed the ministry for being unfair when handing out disciplinary action to airlines. Asiana Airlines had also appointed a foreign member to its directors’ board, but was not penalized.
Employees are demanding the ministry halt the license cancellation of Jin Air, issue an official apology and hold a public hearing to include employees in the process.
Jin Air has requested for a public hearing as well, the ministry said Monday. The hearing can be made public if deemed necessary and upon demand of the concerning parties. However, the government can decline if related parties can be hurt.
Shares of Jin Air closed at 23,000 won ($20.30) on Tuesday, marking a fall of 1.29 percent.
By Chyung Eun-ju (email@example.com