Air transport pioneer and Korean Air CEO Yang-Ho Cho passes away

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Air transport pioneer – Yang Ho Cho – chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Korean Air and the Hanjin Group died peacefully on 7 April in a Los Angeles hospital aged 70-years-old.

Cho’s reach extended far beyond Asia. He was a founder of the Skyteam airline alliance and led the bid committee that brought the 2018 Winter Olympics to Korea.

He served on the Board of Governors of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and under his guidance, Korean Air became a global powerhouse flying to 124 cities and 44 countries, emerging as America’s largest Asian airline with 15 North American gateways.

He recently negotiated a joint venture with Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, that created the industry’s most comprehensive transpacific network. The airlines are scheduled to launch a new non-stop route between Boston and Seoul on 12 April.

Cho was in the airline industry all his life, as his father, Choong-Hoon Cho, had acquired and privatised Korean Air 50 years ago.  The younger Cho was named the airline’s chairman and CEO in 1999 having served as president and CEO four years earlier. Cho began working for Korean Air as a manager in the Americas Regional Headquarters in Los Angeles in 1974 after graduating from University of Southern California.

Cho is survived by his wife, Myung-hee Lee, son Walter, daughters Heather and Emily and five grandsons.