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Incheon Airport flights to surpass pre-pandemic level by next year

Incheon International Airport Corp. employees take part in the IATA Slot Conference on Wednesday at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. (IIAC)
Incheon International Airport Corp. employees take part in the IATA Slot Conference on Wednesday at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. (IIAC)

The number of flights landing and departing from Incheon International Airport will exceed pre-pandemic levels by next year.

Incheon Airport was allotted 263,004 slots for the next summer season from late March to late October, during the International Air Transport Association Slot Conference held last week, according to Incheon International Airport Corp. on Monday.

The Slot Conference is a working conference between IATA and non-IATA airlines worldwide for the allocation of slots at fully coordinated airports, and for the reaching of consensus on the schedule adjustments necessary to conform to airport capacity limitations.

The allocation is a 265 percent growth from the same period this year during which the airport operated 99,077 slots, and a 12.5 percent growth from the same period back in 2019.

A slot is an authorization to either take off or land at a particular airport on a particular day during a specific time period.

IIAC anticipated that the number of flights operating at Incheon Airport the next summer season will set new record highs since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the Slot Conference, IIAC held talks with 64 airlines worldwide including Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Qantas Airways and Lufthansa to reach a consensus on schedule adjustments for the summer season.

New long-distance routes from Incheon to Anchorage in the US and Calgary in Canada are expected to start operating by then as six airlines, including Air Vistara, Northern Pacific Airways and WestJet Airlines, have requested for the launch of such routes.

“We will assign slots fairly and transparently taking into account possible external variables such as the merger of Korean Air and Asiana Airlines and the launching of new airlines,” said Kim Kyung-wook, president and CEO of the IIAC.



By Hong Yoo (yoohong@heraldcorp.com)
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