International flights are ramping up and are expected to recover 60% of pre-Covid levels

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An Asiana Airlines plane bound for Haneda, Japan takes off from Gimpo International Airport on September 6. [NEWS1]

International flights are expected to return to 60% of pre-pandemic levels this winter, according to airlines and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

The Ministry of Transport announced on October 30 that it had approved the timetables for scheduled international and domestic flights during the winter period – from October 30 this year to March 25 next year – submitted by domestic and foreign airlines. .

International flights from 74 airlines have been approved given the recent easing of domestic and international quarantine regulations and growing demand for travel during the peak winter season, with 162 routes and 2,711 flights per week: 58% of pre-levels. -pandemics.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport plans to approve additional flights given the resumption of travel demand. If airlines operate as approved and additional flights are added, the recovery rate should reach 60%.

By region, routes for flights to Southeast Asia, the Americas and Europe are expected to recover 70% of pre-pandemic levels, while routes to Oceania and the Middle East are expected to recover more by 90%. The Northeast Asia route is expected to recover 46% of pre-pandemic levels as Japan’s quarantine restrictions have been lifted but China’s entry restriction policies continue.

Flights between Incheon and Brisbane, Australia will resume, three times a week. Those to Palau will resume, flying four times a week, Macau 29 times a week and Tel Aviv, Israel, three times a week.

Flights to Japan will largely resume, with the Incheon-Okinawa route resuming at 25 times a week and those to Takamatsu seven times a week. The Gimpo-Haneda route will increase from the current 28 weekly flights to 56 weekly flights.

International flights at regional airports will also be significantly expanded.

Gimhae International Airport plans to operate 325 international flights per week, an increase of about 20% from pre-pandemic levels, and Daegu International Airport will operate 87 international flights per week and the Jeju International Airport, 41.

Domestic flights are expected to operate 1,909 times a week on 19 routes from nine airlines, resuming a similar scale to winter 2019 flight numbers.

The number of passengers has increased rapidly after the recent abolition of mandatory PCR tests upon entry to Korea and the resumption of visa-free entry to Japan. In the third week of October, the number of passengers was 586,000, about 35.3% of the monthly average for October 2019. The passenger recovery rate was calculated at 28.8% in August, a strong increase from 5.6% in January. This year.

“Flights have recovered significantly as quarantine regulations in major countries, including those in Japan, have been lifted,” said Ha Dong-soo, vice minister of the Civil Aviation Bureau of the Ministry of Lands, Infrastructure and Transport. “We will prepare for a full recovery in passenger demand by thoroughly inspecting airport operations staff.”

BY KIM EUN-BIN [lim.jeongwon@joongang.co.kr]

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