Among companies getting millions in U.S. small business loans: South Korea’s biggest airline

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A Korean Air Airbus 380 is being towed to a gate at Los Angeles International airport.

Fabrizio Gandolfo | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images

Korean Air’s U.S. operation received millions in federal small-business loans aimed to soften the blow of Covid-19, federal data shows.

The carrier received $5 million to $10 million in U.S. loans intended to help small businesses keep employees on their payrolls, according to a list of the largest recipients of loans in the Paycheck Protection Program released by the Trump administration on Monday.

The Seoul-based airline, South Korea’s largest, has about 500 employees in the U.S., and a spokeswoman said it applied for the loan because more than half of the carrier’s operation is suspended because of the pandemic.

The funds will be used toward it’s payroll costs for staff, including those in its major cargo business as well as office jobs like marketing and human resources, the spokeswoman said.

Long-haul international travel has plunged because of Covid-19 as demand dried up and a series of travel restrictions has made trips abroad difficult if not impossible for some potential customers.

Korean Air is also a major cargo carrier with routes to or from the Americas comprising about 40% of its cargo sales.

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