South Korea’s top budget carrier Jeju Air Co. will bump up share of flights to Chinese locations to 21 percent from 14 percent this month in hopes to make up for the sharp fall in demand on the Japanese routes.
Jeju Air announced Monday that it will start new services to six cities in China departing from Incheon, Busan and Muan after beginning to run an Incheon-Nantong line on Tuesday. The airline will operate the route to Nantong, a city located near Shanghai, three times a week.
The low-cost carrier will also begin services to Yanji, the capital of Korean autonomous region Yanbian in Jillin Province, on August 19 to fly six times a week. It will start to run a new Incheon to Harbin line on August 21 for three flights a week. Other routes Busan to Jiangjiajie route from August 20, Muan to Jiangjiajie line from August 22, and Muan to Yanji line from August 21 will be available twice a week. It also plans to begin services on new routes between Incheon and Beijing’s Daxing International Airport, Jeju and Beijing’s Shoudu International Airport and Jeju and Xian.
The number of Chinese routes run by Jeju Air will increase from 10 to 16 this month, accounting for 21 percent of total 82 lines including six domestic ones and 76 international ones.
Jeju Air announced earlier this month that it would cut down the number of flights to Japan on nine routes by 35.7 percent from 798 flights to 507 from September to October due to oversupply and waning travel demand to Japan. Korean consumers have been boycotting travel to Japan since the Japanese government restricted Korea-bound shipments of high-tech materials in an apparent retaliatory action against Korean court’s rulings on wartime reparations for Japanese companies.
An official from Jeju Air said the expansion in services on flights to China is expected to attract more Chinese visitors and strengthen bilateral exchanges.
The number of Chinese visitors to Korea reached around 2.8 million from January to June this year, up 28 percent from 2.17 million over the same period last year. The number, however, was about 73 percent of a record-high of 3.81 million in 2016.
By Chun Gyung-woon and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]