[Photo by Yonhap]
Die-hard fliers and die-hard shoppers should get ready to hop on planes departing from South Korea’s main gateway for an international round trip without landing at a foreign country only to enjoy hassle-free duty-free shopping.
Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Thursday announced that the country will allow cross-border round-trip flights that depart from Incheon International Airport but return without landing at a foreign destination. All the passengers on board will enjoy the same tax-free benefits as regular international travelers but will be exempt from mandatory two-week quarantine and Covid-19 test upon returning, it added.
The Korean government aims to enable local carriers to start offering no-landing international flight services within this year and allow the service to run for one year as part of measures to support struggling aviation, tourism and retail industries under the Covid-19 crisis. It will decide on whether to extend the service after monitoring the pandemic situation over the year.
No-landing international tourist flight program is another type of the ‘flight to nowhere’ gimmick that has recently become popular among global airlines as part of efforts to offset massive losses from border closures across the world due to the ongoing pandemic.
[Photo by Yonhap]
Under the program without entry or departure from another country, all of the no-landing international flights should depart from Incheon International Airport for quarantine control reasons. The Korean government plans to limit the number of daily flights in operation and secure sufficient gap in departure time between flights.
Passengers would be required for quarantine procedures only when they are departing for the no-landing international flights. Departure screening procedure will be the same as in normal situation while there will be no need for overseas immigration procedure because the journey ends where it departs.
No-landing passengers will be advised to use a separate traveling route inside Incheon International Airport and be provided with non-face-to-face departure screening near the departure gate. The boarding gates will be separated from other flights, the ministry said.
The passengers on board will be exempt from taxes for up to $600 spending, one alcohol bottle, 200 cigarettes, and 60 milliliter perfume. They will be able to purchase duty-free items on flight as well as at duty-free stores in the city, the airport departure and arrival halls.
As part of quarantine efforts, the government has made it mandatory for all no-destination passengers to wear protection masks and be checked of their temperature and symptoms frequently.
By Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]