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Government lifts sanctions against Jin Air amid pandemic crisis

(Jin Air)
(Jin Air)

The South Korean government lifted its sanction on budget airline Jin Air on Tuesday, after having prohibited the company from expanding new flight routes and adding new planes for 20 months.

The Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport said it would remove the sanction against the budget carrier, a move that is seen to reflect the company’s recent efforts for improved management, but also comes in time when the airline industry is into a desperate situation in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The ministry had issued the sanction against Jin Air in August 2018, when it was found to have broken the transport law by having Cho Hyun-min, the Hanjin Group’s heiress, to serve on the company’s board of directors between 2010 and 2016.

The aviation law here bans foreign nationals from being board members at national airlines, and Cho is a US citizen.

Cho, who is the youngest sister of Korean Air Chairman Cho Won-tae, was Jin Air’s vice president but stepped down in 2018, after her “water rage” scandal, in which she threw her drink at an ad agency manager.

Following the decision, Jin Air is now allowed to register new airplanes and to provide non-regular flights. But the release from the ban is not likely to help the company immediately, as it has suspended all of its international flights as countries have closed their borders or introduced other preventive measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jin Air is the low-cost arm of Korean Air.

By Jo He-rim  (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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