After months of campaigning from airlines for the government to lift pandemic bans for air travel, South Korea has eased regulations requiring COVID-19 testing and quarantine for incoming aircraft. passengers. Following this long-awaited uprising, Korean Air has announced that it will add more than 30 flights per week to Europe and the US, starting next month.
Fly at full speed
The planned number of flights to popular destinations such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, San Francisco, and Vancouver is expected to rise to 190 flights per week, a substantial increase from the current 159 flights each. week. This is in addition to the flag carrier’s plans to return the Airbus A380 to JFK Airport in New York.
In addition to more flights to Europe and the US, Korean Air is also considering the possibility of continuing more flight operations to Southeast Asian countries. Currently, the plane will fly from Incheon to Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Jarkata, Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Phnom Penh, and Singapore.
The plane will continue the Incheon-Cebu route, with two weeks of flight operations scheduled from Thursday. Acting as the KE631, the airline will use the Airbus A330-300 on this route. And as for other routes in the Southeast Asia region, Brunei, Chiang Mai, Clark, Da Lat, Da Nang, Denpasar, Kalibo, Kota Kinabalu, Nha Trang, Vientiane, and Yangon remain.
It is uncertain when Korean Air plans to resume flight operations to these destinations. However, the airline is confident in the quick recovery of business type passengers and will closely monitor and respond quickly to the regional market.
Korean Air’s first quarter revenue from passengers rose 128% annually to KRW 360 billion ($ 280 million), and the airline forecasts a continued increase throughout the year. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flight.
Balancing the fleet
While one thing is to keep up and increase flight schedules, it is another to ensure that there is enough available fleet to reach the desired capacity. During the height of the pandemic, Korean Air flew the bandwagon of using its passenger aircraft as cargo aircraft by removing the seats.
This provided a beneficial result, as the Skyteam member airline was able to offset passenger travel losses as the demand for freight soared beyond conceivable limits. What can’t you imagine? The aircraft freight operations were able to generate a huge revenue of KRW 2.2 trillion ($ 1.7 billion) in the first quarter of this year.
In addition, Korean Air predicts a recovery in global passenger demand to increase global air cargo capacity, despite the current war in Ukraine and major lockouts in China. However, the aircraft had to briefly manage passenger and cargo capacities. It plans to gradually return six of its 16 cargoes to passenger planes by reattaching the seats.
Across the country
Korean Air is not the only Korean carrier to prepare itself for the summer travel season by reopening international routes and repairing cargo aircraft. Neighborhood rival Asiana Airlines also plans to continue their Incheon-Paris and Incheon-Rome routes next month, followed by the potential continuation of the Gimpo-Haneda route.
Low-cost carrier T’way has similar plans to reopen its route network, with the final resumption of flight operations to Bangkok, Da Nang, and Ho Chih Minh. And if the airline hasn’t already given Korean Air a fair run for its money, T’way is also launching new routes to competitive hotspots like Guam, Japan, and Singapore.
T’way added several flights to Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Guam, and Saipan. Photo: T’way.
Another low-cost carrier that offers competition to Korean Air is Jeju Air, which is said to continue flight operations to Bangkok, and Singapore, while also increasing flight frequencies to Cebu, and Manila.
With rising flight frequencies to Europe and the U.S. and the eventual resumption of Southeast Asian cities, Korean Air seems well -set for a full recovery this year, despite the first slow pace. Of South Korean bans. However, the flagship carrier is also set to raise its fuel surcharge to another record high next month on international flights due to rising oil prices. Possibly, the move to increase charges could hurt demand for international travel and disrupt recovery growth for Korean Air, especially since its rivals are reopening and launching similar routes. .
Source: The Korea Herald
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