Seoul, South Korea - South Korean airline operators are now flying more freighter planes than passenger planes as the civil aviation industry has been hit hard by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
South Korea is one of the most affected countries in the world from the Covid-19 outbreak. More countries have been announcing entry restrictions of South Koreans over virus concerns. The number has reached 123 as of Friday morning.
This has led to South Korea’s largest full-service air carrier Korean Air to operate only 18 flights per day, compared to 131 flights operated on a daily average before the epidemic outbreak. The air carrier currently keeps 145 aircraft but only uses planes on limited routes such as to Washington, Chicago, London.
Due to the unprecedented suspension of international routes, Korean Air’s passenger plane to air cargo operation ratio fell to 0.9:1, while it was 8:1 prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Korean Air said it flew 19 air cargo planes on Thursday, increase from 16 planes that were operated previously.
Another full-service carrier Asiana Airlines has also flown more air cargo planes than passenger planes.
On Thursday, a total of 12 flights carrying passenger departed Incheon, while 14 air cargo left the airport. The number of passenger planes fell by 85 percent compared to before the COVID-19 spread, the company said.