PyeongChang 2018 boosted by Korean Air deal

South Korea’s national airline Korean Air has signed an official partnership agreement with the organising committee of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games (POCOG).

Korean Air will support the winter Games’ operational and transportation needs as part of its role as a tier one domestic partner.

PyeongChang 2018 has come in for criticism for its failure to attract major domestic sponsors. South Korean President Park Geun-hye last month called on more companies in the country to support PyeongChang’s hosting of the Games.

Korean Air, whose chairman Cho Yang-ho is also president of POCOG, becomes only the fifth Korean-based business to back the Games after Pagoda Education Group, Samil Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Youngone Outdoor and KT.

Cho said he hopes the Korean Air deal can act as a turning point, adding: “We are happy to have Korean Air as our partner, and I am confident that this sponsorship agreement will stimulate other Korean companies to join as sponsors for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic winter Games.”

The signing has coincided with the latest visit of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) coordination commission for PyeongChang 2018, whose chair Gunilla Lindberg added: “The agreement is another sign of the importance of the backing of the Korean business community for the success of the Games, and demonstrates the positive progress the PyeongChang 2018 team are making in this regard.”

At present Korean Air is a sponsor of the Korean men’s volleyball, women’s table tennis and men’s speed skating teams. It has also backed previous international sporting events in the country including the 2011 World Athletics Championships in Daegu and last year’s Asian Games multi-sport showpiece in Incheon.