The Korea Herald


Airlines expand international routes amid ‘living with COVID-19’

Jin Air expands Incheon-Guam flights, Finnair announces Busan-Helsinki route

By Yim Hyun-su

Published : Nov. 16, 2021 - 15:35

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Travelers from Singapore, tourism industry officials and members of the press are seen at Terminal 2 at Incheon Airport on Monday. (Yonhap) Travelers from Singapore, tourism industry officials and members of the press are seen at Terminal 2 at Incheon Airport on Monday. (Yonhap)
Airlines are slowly expanding international flights from Korea as the country takes gradual steps to open up and live with the pandemic.

Low-cost carrier Jin Air said on Tuesday it will expand the number of flights for the Incheon-Guam route from two to four every week starting Nov. 28.

As a gradual return to normal life begins, the airline said it plans to fly once every day by the end of this year.

For golf tourists, Jin Air also said it will launch a non-scheduled flight to the city of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia from mid-December.

“We plan to increase the volume of international flights, keeping in line with growing travel demand amid ‘living with COVID-19,’” one official at the airline said.

Last week, Finnair announced a new long-haul route to Busan. The new route will be launched in March with three weekly flights, the airline said.

“We look forward to the world continuing opening again,” said Ole Orvér, Chief Commercial Officer, Finnair in a statement.

The Finnish airline also announced new routes to Tokyo Haneda, Japan and Dallas, Texas, as well as Sapporo as a summer destination for the first time.

Jeju Air also announced on Sunday that it would resume a weekly flight between Busan and Saipan. The decision comes nearly one year and nine months after the route was suspended due to the pandemic.

The moves come as COVID-related border restrictions are being lifted between countries for international travel to return.

Earlier this month, the US reopened its borders to fully vaccinated UK visitors.

On Monday, the first visitors from Singapore to visit South Korea through the travel bubble scheme were welcomed with gifts at the airport as part of a tourism promotion event jointly held by the Korea Tourism Organization and the Incheon International Airport Corporation.

As part of efforts to prepare for a surge in international travel demand, Incheon Airport also opened a duty free store carrying products from local small and medium sized businesses.

Korea Airports Corporation, which operates multiple airports including Gimpo Airport, will launch promotional events sometime this month for duty free shopping at Gimhae Airport ahead of new international routes opening up, the company said on Monday.

Despite their vaccination status, however, travelers to South Korea are still required to quarantine for 10 days.