Top News Kota Kinabalu-themed “flight to nowhere” takes off from South Korea By TTG Asia / Posted on 30 July, 2021 16:31 A total of 96 travellers boarded a Kota Kinabalu-themed “flight to nowhere” flying out of Incheon International Airport on July 25. Operated by South Korean LCC Jin Air, the flight departed Incheon International Airport at 12.40 and took passengers low-flying over Daegu, Busan, and partially Japanese airspace, before landing at the same airport at 14.30. The Kota Kinabalu-themed sightseeing flight operated by Jin Air featured special inflight activities “Flights to nowhere”, also known as scenic flights or sightseeing flights that take off and land in the same place, have become a new revenue stream for airlines and a novel way to indulge travel-starved locals amid ongoing travel restrictions during the pandemic. To aid the local aviation industry and duty-free sectors in South Korea amid the global crisis, the South Korean government gave the green light early this year for local-based airlines to operate “flights to nowhere”. The Kota Kinabalu-themed sightseeing flight, which sought to inspire travel to the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state, was conducted with the support of Sabah Tourism Board and assistance from Tourism Malaysia. The flight featured a variety of perks and special inflight activities, and each passenger was given a goodie bag prepared by Jin Air and Sabah Tourism Board. Major duty-free shops in South Korea – namely, Shilla, Lotte, and Shinsegae – also offered duty-free services on board. The cabin crew kept passengers entertained with quizzes and a lucky draw. Prizes included round-trip tickets from Incheon to Kota Kinabalu that were sponsored by Jin Air, as well as hotel and sunset cruise vouchers sponsored by the Sabah Tourism Board. “People clearly miss the experience of flying. These experiences will surely offer opportunities for them to remember Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia as a top-of-mind tourist destination,” Shaharuddin Yahya, director of Tourism Malaysia Korea, said in a press release issued by Sabah Tourism. Sabah Tourism and the Tourism Malaysia Seoul office said they plan to extend this activity to other Korean airlines including Air Busan and Jeju Air, with an increased number of flights in August 2021. Sabah had been one of the top holiday destinations in South-east Asia among the South Koreans prior to the pandemic. Nearly 400,000 South Koreans visited Sabah in 2019, with 67 direct flights departing from Incheon, Busan, and Muan to Kota Kinabalu.