AUCKLAND—Asiana Airlines is taking steps to improve its financial health by cutting unprofitable routes, retiring older aircraft and increasing investment in maintenance.
Three routes to be suspended from July 8 include service between Asiana’s Seoul hub and Delhi, as well as service to Khabarovsk and Sakhalin in Russia. Asiana’s Seoul-Chicago route will be cut from Oct. 27.
In a related move, Asiana has canceled its first-class product from Sept. 1. It will retain the first-class suites in its Airbus A380 fleet, but these will be rebranded as "Business Suites" and will be part of the business class product.
Asiana announced April 1 that it had established a task force to consider route reorganization, fleet reductions and asset sales. The move came as part of the recovery plan set up by the carrier following concerns about Asiana’s net losses and financial reporting.
The carrier’s co-CEO Park Sam-koo resigned in late March, and the Kumho Asiana group has agreed to sell its controlling 33% stake to help secure a bailout package from creditors.
In addition to the route cuts, Asiana said it will reduce the number of aging aircraft in its fleet to 10 by 2023, compared to 19 now. Aging aircraft are defined as those at least 20 years old.
The airline is modernizing its fleet with Airbus A350 and A321neo aircraft it has on order. An Asiana spokesman confirmed the airline is still planning to take delivery of all 25 A321neos it has on order, which are expected to begin arriving in July, although the date is subject to change. The Neos will replace Asiana’s current A321s, the spokesman said.
Asiana said it is increasing its focus on operational safety by expanding its investment in aircraft parts and spare engines.