Korean Air to Lay off Older Staff

Jay Yim, Dec. 12, 2019, 12:16 p.m.


Korean Air is laying off older staff to weather hard times brought on by industry slump and growing competition from low-cost carriers.

The flag carrier said Wednesday that it has started to take application for voluntary retirement from staff over 50 who have worked for it for more than 15 years. Pilots, mechanics and staff of overseas branches are not eligible.

Voluntary retirees will receive a severance payment plus up to 24 months' wages. The airline will provide high school and university tuition assistance for their children for up to four years after they leave the company.

A Korean Air staffer said the program "is not mandatory."

The last time Korean Air laid off workers through voluntary retirement was in 2013, when 110 people applied.

The main reason is a slump in the aviation industry. All eight airlines in Korea suffered losses in the second quarter of this year. Korean Air was the only one to post an operating profit in the third quarter, but it fell 70 percent compared to the same period last year.

In October, Korean Air encouraged staff to go on unpaid leave.

Asiana Airlines, which is being sold off, also put some of its workers on unpaid leave in April and took applications for voluntary retirement in May.

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