The Korean and Hungarian governments, and SK Innovation are working together to bring some 150 Koreans stranded in Hungary back home on a chartered flight, according to the company officials, Friday.
|SK Innovation's electric vehicle battery plant in Komarom, Hungary. /Courtesy of SK Innovation|
Amid lockdowns and travel restrictions worldwide due to the COVID-19 outbreak Hungary's government has allowed SK Innovation to dispatch its staff there to aid in the completion of setting up its new production facilities.
The foreign ministry suggested that the plane could also be used to return any Korean nationals who are stranded there due to current travel restrictions and who may wish to return to Korea.
"The foreign ministry came up with the plan first to bring back Korean residents from Hungary instead of the flight coming back with empty seats," a company official said.
The company plans to send the plane on April 5, and it has not decided which airline it will work with to charter the flight, the official said, adding about 150 Koreans are expected to take the returning flight.
The foreign ministry declined to confirm the evacuation plan for Koreans in Hungary.
SK Innovation is currently building a second EV manufacturing facility there to expand the markets in European countries and the United States. With the goal of opening the factory in 2022, about 70 percent of the construction has been carried out. The construction was scheduled to be completed this year, but it has been virtually halted by the spread of the highly contagious virus in Europe.
The Korean government has already used chartered flights to evacuate citizens and their family members from Iran, Peru, the central Chinese city of Wuhan and a cruise ship off Yokohama near Tokyo.