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Korean Air pilots to take 3 months of unpaid leave


Korean Air Lines Co. is set to put all of its non-Korean pilots on a three-month unpaid leave starting next month in a self-rescue effort amid worsening business conditions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Under the measure, 387 pilots are expected to go on mandatory unpaid leave from April 1 to June 30, an industry source said Tuesday.

Around 60 of them have already been off without pay, the source added.

"(The measure) is aimed at adjusting workforce following a sharp reduction in operations and entry restrictions in countries," a company official said, adding that the company factored in how foreign national employees will be more liable to tightened border restrictions.

The unprecedented measure comes as the airline industry is suffering from a plunge in demand due to the pandemic.

Korean Air has suspended most of its flights on international routes as an increasing number of countries close their borders or tighten entry procedures.

The company has launched an internal emergency response committee and a special task force to evaluate and respond to the crisis. It has announced that it will be cutting executives' salaries by up to 50 percent, starting in April, until business is back on track.

The company is also reportedly considering expanding the salary reduction and temporary leave to all employees. (Yonhap)