BA reopens direct flights from Seoul to London

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BA reopens direct flights from Seoul to London

British Airways announced yesterday that it will relaunch direct flights between Seoul and London in December, 14 years after it stopped offering the service in 1998 in the wake of the Asian financial crisis.

Seoul is the first city the airline has restarted the service in after it canceled direct flights to the U.K. from other Asian destinations over a decade ago.

The airline will operate nonstop routes between Seoul and London six times a week from Dec. 2. London-bound flights will leave Seoul every day except Thursday, and Seoul-bound flights will depart on all days save Wednesday.

The tickets went on sale on the airline’s Web site yesterday. The lowest round-trip fare costs 630,000 won ($558.18), excluding taxes.

“We are tremendously excited about starting direct services to Korea and playing a role in developing closer links between the Korean and U.K. economies,” Kevin McQuillan, BA’s general manager for East Asia, said yesterday.

“Seoul is an important market for both tourism and business and is the biggest origin and destination market in East Asia that we do not currently fly to.”

The Korea-EU free trade agreement, which went into effect last July, also contributed to BA’s decision to reopen the route.

McQuillan added that the growing number of passengers between Seoul and London was one of the major reasons why the airline decided to operate again in Seoul. The number of passengers flying between the two cities has grown by an average annual rate of 4.6 percent in recent years, according to Lee Young-geun, executive vice president of Incheon International Airport. Furthermore, fliers can enjoy faster processing by the U.K. customs service at London’s Heathrow Airport, as Terminal 5 is reserved exclusively for BA flights.

By Lee Sun-min [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]

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