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Korean Air CEO receives honor from French government for building ties

Korean Air CEO Cho Won-tae (right) shakes hands with Franck Rieste, Minister-delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness of France, at a diplomatic event in Seoul on Thursday. (Korean Air)
Korean Air CEO Cho Won-tae (right) shakes hands with Franck Rieste, Minister-delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness of France, at a diplomatic event in Seoul on Thursday. (Korean Air)
Korean Air CEO Cho Won-tae has been awarded with a gold medal of honor medal by the French government for his contributions to enhancing relations between Korea and France.

During a ceremony in Seoul on Thursday, Franck Rieste, the visiting minister-delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness of France, bestowed the honor on the Korean businessman for continuing direct flights between the two countries despite a sharp decrease in passengers.

The medal is given to those who have contributed to the good of France or the French people, the airline said.

CEO Cho said he was “honored” and feels “encouraged” to work for the deepening of bilateral ties.

Korean Air has flown three direct flights per week between Incheon and Paris despite plunging demand for air travel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, the airline said the award was given for the “warm-hearted consideration” it has shown to French people, allowing French people living in Korea to travel back and forth at a time when many flights have been suspended or canceled.

British Airways announced on Thursday it would no longer fly between Heathrow and Incheon from next year as part of its effort to downsize the business amid a global pandemic.

By Yim Hyun-su (hyunsu@heraldcorp.com)
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