Korea’s LCCs pad up Jeju services on back of robust domestic travel demand

Malaysians lured by K-wave

A surge in domestic travel demand for Jeju island has encouraged local low-cost carriers (LCCs) to respond with increased flights.

From just two to three flights on the weekends between Gimpo and Jeju in March, Air Seoul has expanded operations to 32 a week since April 6 after seeing a 91 per cent surge in seat occupancy.

Domestic arrivals to Jeju at the start of the golden week holiday, on April 29, far exceeded the estimate of 24,600

An Air Seoul official commented that domestic flights were leading business recovery as “overseas travel is becoming difficult”, and added that seat occupancy was likely to be more than 85 per cent in April.

T’way Airlines also added a new domestic route between Cheongju and Jeju on April 25. T’way Airlines, which already flies out from Gimpo, Daegu, and Gwangju, will operate a total of four domestic routes through the launch of this new Cheongju-Jeju service.

A T’way Airlines official said the company will be expanding routes from various regions in South Korea.

As domestic travel picks up, the popular resort island of Jeju welcomed more than 35,000 Korean tourists on April 29 alone – the start of the country’s six-day golden week holiday, exceeding an initial estimate of 24,600.

The figure represents nearly 80 per cent of the total arrivals to Jeju in the same period last year.

In response, the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province are working together to step up measures to ensure visitors’ safety amid the pandemic.

As the number of new infections hovers at just around 10 a day, the government is relaxing social distancing measures and allowing some facilities, such as schools, parks, museums and libraries, to reopen in phases. – Reporting by Juyoung Lee

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