As travel demand increased with the “With Corona” system, airlines are reopening routes to holiday destinations, such as Saipan, Guam, and Hawaii, as well as mid- and long-range routes to Singapore, Australia, etc.
According to the airline industry on Friday, Asiana Airlines, T'way Air, and Jeju Air operate flights to Saipan once a week. These routes are almost fully booked until the end of this year.
Travelers with a negative COVID-19 test result can travel freely in Saipan after five days of self-quarantine at a designated hotel. The Saipan authorities have designated hotels for overseas travelers, which are almost fully reserved. Airlines are unable to increase flights to the island due to the lack of available rooms. The Saipan government is considering adding more hotels for overseas travelers.
Flights to Guam, a popular holiday destination, are also increasing. Since October, Korean Air and Jin Air have been running flights from Incheon to Guam twice a week, and T'way Air is operating the same route once a week. Air Seoul will begin operating the route once a week from December 23, and Asiana Airlines will resume its route twice a week from December for the first time in 18 years since March 2003.
Korean Air will operate the route from Incheon to Hawaii three times a week from November, adding two more nonscheduled flights. The airline will resume flights between Incheon and Sydney bi-weekly from November. Asiana Airlines will increase its Incheon to Bangkok route from the current three times a week to seven times per week starting November.
“As more people are expected to travel with the ‘With Corona’ system, we will review increasing and adding more flights to popular destinations based on the recovery of passenger demand,” said an official of Korean Air.
Starting November, Southeast Asian countries, including Singapore and Thailand, will open their doors again to travelers. Thailand will accept overseas travelers across the country without self-quarantine from November 1. Singapore will also start a travel bubble, which means those who have completed vaccination and have a negative COVID-19 test result can travel without self-quarantine. Trips to Singapore are allowed only through designated airlines. Among South Korean airlines, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines have been each approved to run flights to Singapore three times a week.
Travelers to Saipan and Guan can take flights both at Incheon International Airport and Gimhae International Airport. The South Korean government has decided to run routes between Gimhae and Saipan twice a week and between Gimhae and Guam once a week. The airlines to be in charge have not been decided yet.
“Passenger demand is likely to increase quickly once more people travel safely outside South Korea,” said an airline industry source. “Once vaccination rates rise, a COVID-19 test, which currently costs over 60,000 won, become cheaper, and process for overseas travel becomes simplified, the number of travelers will further increase.”