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To cut costs, Asiana rearranges decks of planes

Sept 05,2017
Asiana Airlines, Korea’s second-largest airline, has updated its passenger seat structure and turned more first-class seats into business class to improve the company’s financial stability.

According to an Asiana source Monday, the company’s management recently shared a report on its business performance this year with employees, in which the airline said it posted 2.74 trillion won ($2.42 billion) in revenue during the first half of the year, up 6.8 percent from last year, and 60.4 billion won in operating profit, a 23.9 percent jump compared to the previous year, largely thanks to “improved profitability and business efficiency through its management turnaround measures.”

After an outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2015 that led to a decline in travelers to Korea, competition has been building in the market, especially with an influx of low-cost carriers, and Asiana has been tightening its belt ever since to stay afloat.

Its cost-cutting include organizational trimming, workflow improvements and restructuring fleets and service routes.

According to the business report Monday, the company has already completed its organizational slimdown and is still in the process of restructuring its fleet.

Until the first half of this year, the company has renovated 15 planes in its fleet, including six A320 planes and four B777s, to add 366 more seats in total.

For the B777s, the company eliminated first-class service to increase efficiency. For the A320s, the company rearranged seats to add more. For two B767s, the company turned them both into “mono-class” planes without any stratification of service.

Some planes that used to carry passengers, including one B747C, were turned into cargo planes, the report said, citing increased exports of IT products.

Asiana plans to continue restructuring its fleet throughout the year to meet changing consumer demands and increase revenue.

Through the end of this year, the company plans to add 60 more seats by rearranging the decks of 15 planes, including five B777s and eight A321s. Another B747C will be turned into a cargo plane.

“The business difficulties that started with MERS are continuing through geopolitical conflicts surrounding the country including the deployment of the Thaad antimissile system,” an Asiana spokesperson said. “But our turnaround measures are showing outcomes, and our restructuring efforts will continue throughout the year.”


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]