The number of the approved air flights between South Korea and Vietnam, which has emerged as a key figure of “New Southern Policy," surged as much as 54 percent during the summer from March 25 to October 27 compared to a year earlier. On the other hand, the number of flights to China plunged 10 percent after the controversy over China’s retaliation against South Korea over the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced that it approved regular international and domestic flight schedules submitted by airlines at home and abroad during the summer in 2018 on March 22. During the summer this year, 93 airlines will operate a total of 4,782 international flights a week with 357 routes, up 8.4 percent, or 370 flights, from the same period last year.
By country, China ranks first in terms of a total number of flights with 1,205 flights a week, accounting for 23.3 percent of the total, followed by Japan with 1,160 flights a week and 22.5 percent, the U.S. with 505 flights a week and 9.8 percent and Vietnam with 409 flights a week and 8.6 percent. China came in first in terms of share but the number of flights to China showed a whopping 10.3 percent drop compared to 1,343 last year.
As the volume of bilateral trade between South Korea and Vietnam has shown a growth, the number of flights from South Korea to Vietnam jumped 53.8 percent from 266 during the same period a year ago, showing the highest rate of increase. Vietnam also came in fourth ahead of Hong Kong with 267 flights, moving up one notch. However, Japan has the biggest increase in terms of air routes with 189.
The number of international flights by low cost carriers (LCCs) increased 27.7 percent to 1,460 a week compared to the same period last year. This is largely due to some LCCs raised the number of flights to Japan and Southeast Asia and launched new routes, including Jeju Air by 118, T'way Air by 93 and Air Seoul by 49. The destinations of LCCs include Kagoshima, Matsuyama and Miyazaki in Japan and Yantai in Chian, Taizhong in Taiwan, Johor Baharu in Malaysia, Kalibo in the Philippines, Nha Trang in Vietnam and Vladivostok in Russia.