Air Busan became the first Korean airline on Thursday to fly a no-destination flight with a select group of passengers.
The short-haul flight, which took off around noon from Gimhae International Airport, located on the western end of Busan, traveled over multiple areas of the country including Pohang, Seoul, Gwangju and Jeju Island for nearly two hours before returning to Gimhae.
Students from the Department of Airlines and Tourism at Uiduk University were among those on board the plane as part of an on-site education course that included a visit to the training facilities at the airline’s headquarters in Busan.
“Through the hands-on training on the plane, we expect to provide students with an opportunity for great education,” one official at the airline said.
The program is designed for students to experience the duties of a flight attendant on the plane including preparing for takeoff and landing, service announcements and in-flight services for passengers.
The airline also said it plans to offer a similar commercial flight for general passengers when the spread of COVID-19 slows down.
Domestic as well as short-haul international routes are currently under consideration, such as to Japan and Taiwan, in which case in-flight duty-free shopping options can be made available, the airline said.
No-destination flights are among the novel services to come out of the aviation industry in the midst of a pandemic as it seeks creative ways to make profits.
In July, Taiwan’s Taipei Songshan Airport made international headlines for launching “fake flights” with no destination, as thousands of people applied to become the 60 passengers selected to take part in the novel scheme as the COVID-19 pandemic forced airlines around the world to halt most flights.
In another sign of the times, several airlines including Thai Airways and Canadian airline Air North have begun offering in-flight meals to the general public in recent months -- without actually having to fly.
By Yim Hyun-su (email@example.com)