Korean Air takes to the skies: More flights to Bangkok amid tourism recovery

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Korean Air exposed plans for two more weeks of flight from Incheon to Bangkok, reflecting a resurgent appetite for travel as the world emerges from the grip of the pandemic.

Kim Jongmin, the airline’s country head, revealed that the added flights on the Incheon-Don Mueang route are in response to growing demand, particularly from South Koreans looking for a break from winter stress in January and February.

“Demand from Korean travelers to escape the winter cold has been exceptional, prompting us to increase our flight offerings.”

Currently operating five flights a week from Incheon to Bangkok, in addition to routes to Phuket and Chiang Mai, Korean Air is witnessing a strong recovery in its flight schedule to Thailand, Kim said.

“We are now proud to announce that our flight schedule to Thailand has not only recovered following the fall of the Covid-19 pandemic, but has also increased in frequency.”

The airline’s resilience during the pandemic has paid off handsomely, with an incredible 190% increase in passenger numbers recorded last year on Korea-Thailand routes. This surge in traffic lifted the airline’s total profit to a staggering US$11.3 billion (roughly 40 billion baht), surpassing pre-pandemic levels set in 2019.

While Thailand’s tourism sector has been on the slow road to recovery, it remains a preferred destination for Korean travelers, known for its urban appeal, peaceful retreats and world-class golf courses.

Revival of flights

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Asia-Pacific region saw the highest annual growth in air traffic last year, up a whopping 126.1%. Despite the dominance of the Thai market for Korean Air in Southeast Asia, the airline has expanded its reach to destinations such as Manila and Bali.

Buoyed by the promising outlook, Korean Air anticipates a full recovery of passenger demand and capacity to pre-pandemic levels by the first quarter of this year. With long-haul demand forecast to remain strong, the airline is preparing to boost revenue during the peak winter season, aiming to maximize revenue by re-establishing routes and boosting capacity to popular tourist hotspots across Southeast Asia and Japan, Kim said.

“We have expanded our reach with routes to destinations such as Incheon-Phu Quoc in Vietnam and are planning further expansion into Laos.”

Korean Air has entered into a contract with Shell to procure sustainable jet fuel (SAF) from 2026 for five years to promote sustainability.

The airline has also taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint by introducing fuel-efficient aircraft such as the A220-300, A321neo and B787-9, which boast a 20-25% reduction in carbon emissions per seat compared to existing models , The Narod reported.

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