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Korean Air further reduces its Japan services

Aug 21,2019
Korean Air, the country’s largest carrier, announced Tuesday plans to further reduce flights to Japan.

The airline already said last month that it will temporarily suspend thrice-weekly service between Busan and Sapporo from Sept. 3 due to the falling demand amid the Korea-Japan trade row.

To balance revenue lost from the cancelled Japan flights, the company said it plans to add new routes to China and increase frequencies to Southeast Asian destinations.

According to the airline, it will suspend the Busan-Osaka twice-daily flight from Sept. 16. Starting in November, it will also suspend flights from Jeju to Narita and from Jeju to Osaka that used to run three times and four times a week, respectively.

As for flights departing from Incheon, it will suspend thrice-weekly flights to Komatsu and Kagoshima from Sept. 29 through Nov. 16 and the five-a-week service to Asahikawa from Sept. 29 through Oct. 26.

The company is also reducing flight frequencies on some routes.

Flights connecting Incheon and Osaka and Incheon and Fukuoka, will be cut to 21 times per week from 28 between Oct. 27 and Nov. 16. Incheon-Okinawa flights will run four times per week from Sept. 29 through Nov. 16 from the current seven times per week. The frequency of flights from Busan to Narita and Busan to Fukuoka will be halved from 14 times per week to seven times a week.

“As we have room for more supply due to falling demand on Japanese routes, we will enhance our Southeast Asian, Chinese and Oceania routes in time for the beginning of our winter schedule,” the company said in statement.

On Oct. 27, the company will launch a new daily flight service between Incheon and Clark, the Philippines.

It plans to increase the frequency of flights connecting Incheon and Danang, Vietnam by seven times per week to total 21 times per week. Flights from Incheon to Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Bali, Indonesia, will be increased by four times per week to run a total of 11 times a week. Five-a-week flights between Incheon and Brisbane, Australia, will increase to seven times per week.

As for routes to China, the airline is preparing to introduce new services connecting Incheon with Zhangjiajie, Hangzhou and Nanjing. While it already operates flight services between Incheon and Beijing, it plans to make it 17 times per week, from the current 14. A timeline for schedule changes was not announced for China routes.

A Korean Air spokesperson said schedules will be put into effect after gaining government approval.

While most of the changes are likely to be put into effect, launching new routes to some Chinese destinations might face difficulties.

According to airline industry sources, China’s aviation authority announced last week it will not be accepting applications to open air services to Zhangjiajie and Yanji until Oct. 10.

The authority said the airports are too crowded to handle an increase in flights for the time being. Korean Air and T’way Air already delayed the launch of new services to these Chinese cities scheduled for September.

BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]