Korean Air to Shuffle Management
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Under government pressure to improve his company’s dismal safety record, the president of Korean Air is stepping aside from direct management of the airline, sources said today.
Cho Yang-ho, 50, who has been president since 1992, will leave that post to become chairman of Korean Air, a subsidiary of the Hanjin Group, the sources said.
He will succeed his father, Cho Joong-hoon, 79, who will leave the airline but is expected to retain the chairmanship of Hanjin, South Korea’s sixth-largest conglomerate, they said.
A professional manager within the airline _ most likely one of its two vice presidents _ will be promoted to become president with day-to-day management control of Korean Air, the sources said.
Korean Air scheduled a news conference later today to announce the changes.
Earlier this week, President Kim Dae-jung said a series of Korean Air accidents reflected badly on the nation and demanded changes in the airline’s management.
Kim said the airline had put rapid expansion and profits ahead of safety.
The president’s comments came five days after a Korean Air cargo jet crashed shortly after takeoff from Shanghai last week, killing its three crewmen and six people on the ground.
It was the latest in a series of accidents that have given Korean Air one of the worst safety records in commercial aviation. More than 700 people have died in Korean Air accidents in the past 20 years, including 228 in the 1997 crash of a Boeing 747 on Guam.
After the Shanghai crash, Delta Air Lines dropped its code-sharing flight partnership with Korean Air, saying that it would not do business with any carrier it did not believe to be safe. Air Canada followed suit.
Korean Air, formerly Korean Airlines, was founded 30 years ago by the senior Cho with eight planes flying domestic routes. The airline has since grown into the world’s 13th largest carrier.