Qantas takes off on emerging South Korean market

Another major Aussie aviation milestone was achieved this week, with Qantas resuming services to South Korea for the first time in 15 years.

THE inaugural Sydney-Seoul service took off for Qantas over the weekend, with the new 11-hour flights to operate four times a week over the peak summer season to service a market which continues to grow in demand among Aussie travellers.

With China still very much off the radar thanks largely to the country’s outlier stance on zero COVID cases in 2022, other Asian markets have benefited from the massive vacuum left by what was the largest outbound destination in 2019, with South Korea most definitely one of those indirect beneficiaries.

The country’s growing popularity among leisure travellers has also been fuelled by an increasing love of South Korean culture, helped along by the mainstream emergence of K-pop and major film and TV hits such as Squid Game.

So it makes sense that Qantas is looking to capitalise on this pent-up, spill-over demand for Asian holidays, with its newest route supported by the efforts of the NSW Government’s Attracting Aviation Fund.

Qantas Domestic & International CEO, Andrew David, said the airline was adding international capacity as fast as possible to meet growing demand.

“What we’ve seen this year is that there is no shortage of Australians wanting to travel overseas again and we know South Korea is at the top of the list for many,” he said.

Sister budget carrier Jetstar has also launched its own South Korea services, with the combined operations offering customers over 200,000 annual seats on the new route.

Only last month Inside Travel Group said it had witnessed a massive surge in bookings for markets like South Korea to end 2022, while local South Korean airlines are also clearly seeing the same commercial appeal, following the news of low-cost South Korean carrier T’way Air confirming plans to fly four weekly return flights between Incheon and Sydney from 23 December.

The new Qantas route will scale down to thrice weekly between May and October 2023, as demand throttles back.

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