The Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Ministry have decided not to revoke civil aviation business license of Jin Air and Air Incheon, which were under controversy for illegally hiring foreign nationals as board members.
The ministry made the decision based on the fact related laws that disqualify the foreigners as board members were modified while they were already serving on the posts. Under the current civil aviation act, employment of foreign nationals as board members is a cause for revocation of business license, but such employment was originally provisional cause for business license revocation, and became a critical cause for license revocation from July 2012. At Jin Air, former vice president Cho Hyun-min served as registered director of the board from March 2010 to March 2016, while at Air Incheon, Russian citizen Sukorevrik served as registered director from May 2012 to November 2014.
The ministry said it comprehensively considered both pros and cons of business license revocation rather than unconditionally withdrawing their licenses, because the rules in question have been revised while those foreign nationals were serving as board members. It judges that damage on the aviation industry due to license revocation including job security of the employees, inconveniences to consumers who have already booked flights, and financial loss caused to minority shareholders, will be greater than benefits from the cancellation. In particular, as the incumbent administration envisions a “Government of Jobs,” it was heavily affected by the burden from the expected firing of about 2,000 employees with Jin Air and Air Incheon.
The ministry decided to stop granting licenses for new flight routes and registration of new aircraft by Jin Air, whose owners were under fire for “unfair treatment of employees,” until the air carrier improves management culture.
“We respect the purpose of the ministry’s decision,” Jin Air said in an official statement. However, critics have raised concern that Jin Air could internally suffer a setback in business operation. Despite its initial plan to introduce six new aircraft this year, the airliner has introduced only two units so far. It also planned to secure five to six new international routes, but has little chance for the time being.
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