Korean Air has made significant reductions to routes in the Korea-Japan market, as political tension between the two countries affects traffic.
The Seoul-based airline announced the suspension of six Japan routes either indefinitely or temporarily; it will also reduce frequencies on another five. Korean Air had previously suspended another Japan route and had indicated that further capacity reductions were being considered.
Korean Air revealed in its first-half earnings results that passenger revenue was down 5% year-on-year in the Japanese market, while most other markets saw stronger performance.
South Korea’s Asiana Airlines has also cut back capacity on Japan routes, as have some Korean low-cost carriers.
In its latest round of reductions, Korean Air is suspending its Busan-Osaka route from Sept. 16, and flights from Jeju to Tokyo Narita and Osaka from Nov. 1. Routes from Seoul Incheon to Komatsu and Kagoshima will be suspended from Sept. 29 to Nov. 16, and the Incheon-Asahikawa route from Sept. 29 to Oct. 26.
Frequencies will be reduced on routes between Incheon and Osaka and Fukuoka, between Incheon and Okinawa, and from Busan to Narita and Fukuoka.
Korean Air said it will increase its focus on other markets in Southeast Asia, Australasia and China during the winter season. This will include a new route to Clark Airport in the Philippines from Oct. 27, with increased frequency on flights to Chiang Mai, Thailand; Bali, Indonesia; and Brisbane, Australia.
In the China market, the airline said it will start direct flights from Incheon to Zhangjiajie, Hangzhou and Nanjing. Frequencies will be added to the Incheon-Beijing route.
Korean Air will start one new route and also boost frequencies in the South Korean domestic market.