South Korea’s flag carrier Korean Air plans to cut more flights to Japan amid Korea-Japan tensions.
The airline will suspend its Busan-Osaka route (14 flights a week) from September 16, as well as Jeju-Narita (three flights a week) and Jeju-Osaka (four flights a week) from November 1.
The airline will also temporarily suspend some of its other routes. Incheon-Komatsu (three flights a week) and Incheon-Kagoshima (three flights a week) will be suspended from September 29 to November 16, and Incheon-Asahikawa (five flights a week) will be suspended from September 29 to October 26.
For its Incheon-Osaka/Fukuoka routes, both routes now have 28 flights a week, but the frequency will be decreased to 21 flights a week between October 27 and November 16. The frequency of Incheon-Okinawa will be reduced from seven to four flights a week, and Busan-Narita/Fukuoka from fourteen to seven flights a week, between September 29 and November 16.
At the same time, the airline will increase the frequency of routes in the Southeast Asia, Oceania and Chinese markets. Korean Air plans to “strengthen its route competitiveness” by focusing on these markets in the winter season, the airline said.
Korean Air is also planning to expand its network to China with the launch of new direct services. The airline plans to start direct flights from Incheon to Zhangjiajie and Hangzhou three times a week each, and Incheon-Nanjing four times a week. The service between Incheon and Beijing will be operated 17 times a week, up from the previous 14 a week.
In other changes, Korean Air will boost frequency on some domestic routes. It will launch a new service between Pohang and Jeju seven times a week, and its Ulsan-Jeju flight will be operated seven times a week, an increase of two flights a week.
The schedule updates are subject to government approval.
Business Traveller Asia-Pacific reported on August 1 that Korean Air planned to fly smaller aircraft on its Japan routes. At the end of July, several South Korean airlines announced they would reduce services to Japan amid declining demand caused by an ongoing trade dispute between the two countries. Such disputes have prompted a widespread boycott of Japanese products and services, from beer to clothes and travel in South Korea.
In June, Japan tightened controls of exports of high-tech materials to South Korea, in apparent retaliation for a South Korean court ruling over wartime forced labour, according to Reuters.