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Korean Air CEO: “2024 will be a year of change and innovation, a time to return to the fundamentals”

Korean Air CEO: “2024 will be a year of change and innovation, a time to return to the fundamentals”

In a New Year’s message to the Korean Air team, Korean Air’s Chairman and CEO, Walter Cho, shared that he expected 2024 to be a big milestone for the aviation industry with various changes and innovations shaping the year. Cho emphasized safety and service, and asked his colleagues for their full support to successfully complete the acquisition of Asiana Airlines in 2024.

“In contrast to the difficult times we’ve faced, our valued passengers have rekindled their travel plans and airports buzz with activity. While we celebrate our victory over a significant crisis, a rocky road remains ahead,” shared Walter Cho in his New Year’s message that was posted on the company’s employee site on January 2.

In his message, Cho anticipated geopolitical risks, global supply chain disruptions, economic slowdowns and prolonged inflation to persist through 2024. He also expected intensified industry competition in regaining market share, and a slowdown of the lucrative cargo business.

In light of these uncertainties, Cho urged his colleagues to return to the fundamentals. “Innovation without a solid foundation is akin to a castle built on sand,” said Cho. “We must consistently cultivate and refine our strengths.”

Cho further underscored that Korean Air’s operations hinges on commitment to safety, and encouraged his colleagues to take an active role in cultivating a strong safety culture.


Cho also emphasized the importance of continuously rendering customer-centric services. “Every moment they spend with us is more valuable than ever. To meet their needs, we need to review their journey from start to finish to check for inconveniences and find areas for improvement.” Cho reiterated safety and service as pillars of the airline’s business, and called on his colleagues to play their respective roles so that Korean Air may “continue its venture in leading the global aviation industry.”

In addressing the merger with Asiana, Cho is confident that the procedure will finalize in 2024, and asked all employees to come together for the launch of an integrated airline. “We will complete the acquisition of Asiana Airlines in 2024. Although it has taken much longer than expected, the integrated airline will be a tremendous growth engine for us in the long run,” said Cho. “Korean Air will be poised to stand shoulder to shoulder with global leading airlines. The merger will optimize our network and allow us to operate to new destinations, so that we may offer customers more choices.”

In closing his message, Cho mentioned that the pandemic highlighted the value of “people” and recognized the airline’s over 20,000 professionals as the core of the business. “With Korean Air’s resilience, strength and expertise accumulated over many years, there is nothing we can’t overcome when we put our minds together.”