Context. The most promising mechanism acting towards damping the kink oscillations of coronal loops is resonant absorption. In this context most of previous studies neglected the effect of the obvious equilibrium flow along magnetic field lines. The flows are in general sub-Alfvénic and hence comparatively slow.
Aims. Here we investigate the effect of an equilibrium flow on the resonant absorption of linear kink MHD waves in a cylindrical magnetic flux tube with the aim of determining the changes in the frequency of the forward and backward propagating waves and in the modification of the damping times due to the flow.
Methods. A loop model with both the density and the longitudinal flow changing in the radial direction is considered. We use the thin tube thin boundary (TTTB) approximation in order to calculate the damping rates. The full resistive eigenvalue problem is also solved without assuming the TTTB approximation.
Results. Using the low ratio of flow and Alfvén speeds we derive simple analytical expressions to the damping rate. The analytical expressions are in good agreement with the resistive eigenmode calculations.
Conclusions. Under typical coronal conditions the effect of the flow on the damped kink oscillations is weak when the characteristic scale of the density layer is similar or lower than the characteristic width of the velocity layer. However, in the opposite situation the damping rates can be significantly altered, specially for the backward propagating wave which is undamped while the forward wave is overdamped.