SEOUL, Aug. 26 (Korea Bizwire) — Asiana Airlines, South Korea’s No. 2 flag carrier, said Wednesday it plans to eliminate almost all its first-class seats from its international flights as part of an effort to cut losses.
The first-class seat system usually leads to high costs, but most airlines have been holding on to the operations despite low occupancies.
The airline’s loss during the April-June period widened to 85.4 billion won (US$71.63 million) from the previous year’s loss of 11.8 billion won, with sales falling to 1.3 trillion won from the previous 1.4 trillion won over the cited period.
“Considering that our company is at an absolutely inferior position in terms of supply of first-class seats, all other flights will change to a two-class system, while the first class will remain on our four Airbus 380 airliners,” Kim Soo-cheon, chief executive officer of Asiana, told employees via a video message.
The Asiana chief said the company suffered some 150 billion won in losses from the MERS outbreak during the past three months, as lackluster demand from China and Japan has not been improving.
Although the latest decision was made as an emergency countermeasure to the stumbling business, Asiana has already been pulling back from the three-class system on many of its flights.
Of the company’s 74 airliners, only 20 provide first-class seats, and 12 others are run on a mono-class basis.