(Hawaii Tourism Authority)
Korean Air said Wednesday it would resume flights to Hawaii starting Nov. 3 while Hawaiian Airlines announced plans to expand flights on the route to four times a week.
Korean Air’s operation on the route was suspended in April last year due to COVID-19.
The Incheon-Honolulu KE053 flight will operate three days a week, departing from Incheon International Airport every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night.
The KE054 flight departing from Honolulu for Incheon will also operate on the same days of the week.
Hawaiian Airlines will start flying four flights from Incheon to Hawaii between Jan. 21 and Feb. 16 next year.
The Honolulu-based airline has flown three flights to and from Hawaii since November.
“We expect travel demand for Hawaii to sharply increase in Korea, one of the most popular holiday destinations, as (the country) enter the ‘living with COVID-19’ stage,” said country director Yu Soo-jin.
The increase in flights is aimed at the Lunar New Year’s holidays, one of the busiest times for South Korea’s tourism industry.
Quarantine is lifted for travelers to Hawaii who have negative COVID-19 test results issued from designated testing sites.
The moves come following an increase in travel confidence, both airlines said.
Korean Air said the decision follows a steady increase in travel demand for the Hawaiian route while Hawaiian Airlines said hopes around the government’s plans to gradually return to normal life has caused travel demand to grow.
The number of Korean tourists visiting Hawaii has grown fivefold since January to some 1,000 per month recently, according to Korean Air.
Pre-pandemic, Korean Air operated two daily flights, flying 14 flights a week between Incheon and Hawaii.
Korean Air said that it would continue monitoring regional and international pandemic restrictions and consider resuming international flights as vaccination rates increase and travel demand grows.
By Yim Hyun-su (firstname.lastname@example.org