Korea Airports Corporation, under the leadership of CEO Yoon Hyung-joong, has achieved a significant milestone by surpassing 5 million passengers traveling on international routes across its seven major international airports nationwide (Gimpo, Gimhae, Jeju, Cheongju, Daegu, Muan, and Yangyang International Airports).
As of June 24th, the total number of international passengers for the first half of this year has exceeded 5.02 million, surpassing the annual figure of 1.78 million passengers in 2022. This remarkable recovery represents a significant milestone, as it has now reached 50% of the passenger volume recorded in the first half of 2019, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Korea Airports Corporation has been actively engaged in expedited discussions with domestic airlines, the travel industry, and overseas airport operators to facilitate the prompt resumption of international flights. They have proactively proposed measures to ease immigration procedures for incoming passengers while also focusing on other preemptive efforts.
With an ambitious goal to increase the projected number of international passengers from 10.8 million to 13 million this year, the corporation has allocated 5.2 billion KRW to attract foreign tourists and has developed support programs for new and expanded airlines as well as travel agencies. Notably, they have successfully secured five new international routes at Cheongju, Gimhae, and Jeju Airports.
Furthermore, the corporation has conducted relay discussions with airport operators in Japan and China to boost international demand. In addition, working groups have been established, local attraction seminars for overseas travel agencies have been organized, and airport promotional marketing activities have been carried out at “World Routes,” the world’s largest airline route development conference. These efforts are aimed at strengthening regional airports during these critical times.
In a strategic partnership with the global leisure platform company “Yanolja,” Korea Airports Corporation is prioritizing the attraction of inbound passengers to regional airports. Recently, Interpark Triple, a subsidiary of Yanolja, presented a blueprint to usher in the era of attracting 50 million inbound tourists. Korea Airports Corporation and Yanolja have agreed to jointly develop travel products in collaboration with regional international airports such as Yangyang, Muan, and Cheongju. This collaboration aims to achieve a significant breakthrough in attracting inbound passengers to regional airports by leveraging Yanolja’s global network and incorporating K-contents, along with the expertise of Interpark Triple in developing unique tourism products.
Moreover, Korea Airports Corporation has taken urgent measures to revitalize Yangyang International Airport, which has been facing challenges due to the operational difficulties of its main airline. An emergency special task force has been established to conduct daily situation checks and focus on marketing activities to restore convenience for local residents.
In recent months, the corporation has actively conducted airline route attraction activities, targeting local travel agencies and airlines, at international tourism fairs held in Taiwan. Additionally, discussions are currently underway with airlines to launch the Gimpo-Yangyang route in July, catering to leisure travelers, including surfers, who seek dedicated surfing beaches.
Towards the end of this month, China travel agencies will be invited, and efforts will be made to promote local tourism resources in collaboration with K-culture, which has gained attention as a filming location for dramas and entertainment programs. Collaborative efforts are also underway to attract travel agencies specializing in Yangyang Airport and to secure chartered flights for tourist groups.
While it is projected that international flights will be fully restored to the levels of 2019 by the end of this year, the passenger recovery rate until May indicates that the recovery rate for Southeast Asia stands at 71.2%, Japan at 62%, while China routes remain at 23%. Therefore, activating Chinese group tourism to Korea is crucial for achieving the set target.
Yoon Hyung-joong, CEO of Korea Airports Corporation, expressed his commitment, saying, “In order to surpass the demand before the COVID-19 pandemic and achieve ‘Beyond 2019,’ we will dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to attracting visitors to Korea and revitalizing regional airports. We will actively cooperate with domestic and international airlines, travel agencies, and overseas airport authorities.”
By Intae Jung/Korea Travel News