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Korean Air and Asiana Airlines Cutting Flights to Japan
Number of Korean Travelers to Japan Falling Sharply
Korean Air and Asiana Airlines Cutting Flights to Japan
  • By Choi Moon-hee
  • July 31, 2019, 11:00
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Korean airlines are reducing flights to Japan as the number of Korean travelers to Japan is falling rapidly.

Korean airlines are scaling back flights to Japan. Low-cost carriers (LCCs) have already reduced their flights to Japan as many Korean travelers have canceled their trips to Japan in protest against the Japanese government's export regulations. Following them, Korea’s two full service carriers (FSCs), Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, are slashing services to Japan.

Asiana Airlines planned to change its aircraft on the routes from Incheon to Fukuoka, Osaka and Okinawa from the A330 to the A321 and the B767 between Sept. 1 and 15. The A330 can carry up to 290 passengers, but the A321’s capacity is 174 passengers, 116 fewer than the A330. The B767 also has 250 seats, about 40 fewer than the A330.

Asiana Airlines is the first Korean carrier to reduce the number of seats for flights from Incheon to Japan. Asiana Airlines has made this decision as the number of Korean passengers going to Japan decreased significantly. The number of passengers to Japan had been on the decline this year, but the figure has additionally dropped by up to 10 percent since the Japanese government announced export regulations.

Korean Air will also begin to suspend its service from Busan, Korea to Sapporo, Japan on Sept. 3. "There had been not much demand for flights to Japan from regional cities in Korea and recently, new reservations have dropped,” a Korean Air official said. "No one can say that Japanese export regulations did not spark off the decrease in Korean travelers to Japan." Nobody knows when the service will resume.

LCCs have reduced the number of flights to Japan or are planning to do so due to oversupply of flights on Korea-Japan routes and the decrease in Korean travelers to Japan. T’way Airlines suspended flights from Muan, Korea to Oita, Japan on July 24 and will stop flying from Busan, Korea to Oita, Japan beginning on Aug. 12 and halt Daegu-Kumamoto and Busan-Saga services in September. Jin Air will cut Incheon-Fukuoka flights from four times to three times daily beginning in October.

Eastar will also stop offering flights from Busan to Osaka and Sapporo beginning in September. Air Busan will stop flights from Daegu to Narita starting in September and reduce the number of flights from Daegu to Osaka and from Daegu to Kitakyushu. They are considering further adjusting routes in the future.