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Busan-Amsterdam air route to be launched in late October

 A direct air route linking South Korea's largest port of Busan and the key European transportation hub of Amsterdam will open in late October, the government said Friday.

   Busan municipal authorities and the transportation ministry said an agreement reached at talks in The Hague earlier this week will permit KLM, the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands, to ferry passengers three times a week between the two cities.

   The agreement also allows South Korean carriers to operate three to seven cargo flights between Gimhae International Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Gimhae, just outside Busan, serves the port city and surrounding South Gyeongsang Province.

   Gimhae offers flights to nearby destinations in China and other Asian countries, but it has no direct routes to Europe. Germany's Lufthansa operated direct routes from Busan to Munich, but they were suspended in March 2014.

   "The direct route will cut travel time between Busan and Amsterdam by four to six hours because passengers need not transfer at Incheon International Airport," a Busan city official said.

   Because Schiphol has flights connecting to 120 cities across Europe, the new tieup can greatly facilitate travel to these destinations for people living in Busan and the surrounding regions, he said.

   Busan has been pushing to actively increase routes linking Gimhae with other countries in an effort to help develop the airport into a regional hub for air passengers.

   Related to the announcement, KLM said that while it constantly seeks to expand routes, no decision has been reached on setting up direct flights between Schiphol and Gimhae. (Yonhap)

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