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Asiana flags asset sales and route, fleet cuts

South Korean carrier Asiana Airlines has flagged that it may sell assets, cut routes and some aircraft from its fleet as it looks to overcome financial difficulties.

Newly promoted co-chief executive Han Chang-soo says in a letter to the airline’s employees that a task force has been established to oversee the company’s restructuring efforts.

Asset sales will help to boost its short-term liquidity, and help support its credit rating. Han stressed that the rating has not been lowered, but placed on watch by key lenders.

He also noted that its network will be restructured to focus on profitable routes, which would lead to a reduction in fleet numbers. No details of routes that may be cut, nor which aircraft it will cull, were contained in a letter.

Cirium's Fleets Analyzer shows that Asiana has 82 aircraft in its fleet, including 25 Airbus A320 family aircraft, 15 A330-300s, eight Boeing 767s and nine 777-200ERs. It is partway through a fleet replacement that will see its narrowbody aircraft rolled over to A321neos, and it has six A350s in its fleet, along with orders for 24 more.

The airline adds that efforts will also be made to increase its operational efficiency and ability to respond to changes in market conditions.

Although Asiana reported an operating profit of W158 billion ($158 million) for the year to December 2018, foreign currency losses, charges for maintenance reserves and other provisions forced it to report a revised net loss of W26.2 billion.

That revised figure was disclosed after a dispute with the airline’s auditor, which led to the resignation of previous co-CEO, and chairman of parent company Kumho Asiana Group, Park Sam-koo in recent days.

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