|Passengers line up to check in at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul's northwestern district of Gangseo, May 5. Newsis|
By Lee Hae-rin
The Korea Airports Corp. (KAC) will resume international flights and activate local airports network to pave the way for the industry's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, its chief said, Tuesday.
KAC President and CEO Yoon Hyeong-jung, who took office in February, said that the "super-converged global strategy," or the vitalization of international travel from local airports via the integration of advanced technologies with various sectors, is the company's prime focus for its post-pandemic recovery.
|Korea Airports Corp. President and CEO Yoon Hyeong-jung / Yonhap|
The KAC plans to open seven additional local airports across the country, the first of which will open on Ulleung Island in 2025. The organization operates 14 international and domestic airports nationwide, except for Incheon International Airport, and provides integrated aviation services.
According to the KAC, a total of 22 international routes with 136 weekly flights will resume at five airports from June, which will represent three percent of pre-pandemic levels. Only 0.5 percent of the figure from 2019, or 156 air routes to 13 countries, are currently active at Gimhae and Daegu airports as of May.
The routes that will be resumed next month include the flights between Gimpo and Haneda, Japan; Jeju and Singapore, and Bangkok and between Gimhae and Guam, Saipan, Fukuoka, Bangkok, Singapore and Cebu.
The number of international passengers is expected to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of next year or the beginning of 2024, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The country aims to resume international flights by 50 percent this year.