International travel seems a little more normal

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Gimpo International Airport is packed with passengers on July 1. International travel is resuming as restrictions are lifted and airlines restore routes. [YONHAP]

International travel is picking up as restrictions are lifted and airlines restore routes.

The number of passengers taking international flights was 1.28 million in June, up 420% from the same month last year, according to the Department of Transport’s Aviation Statistics Service on Sunday.

It is the first month since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 that international passengers exceeded one million.

International passengers have increased steadily this year, from 411,000 in March, which jumped 59% on the month to 650,000 in April, and 941,000 in May, 45% more than the previous month.

The number of all passengers, including domestic and international, was 4.6 million in June, up 40% from a year earlier. Domestic passengers increased by 9% compared to June 2021, reaching 3.32 million.

Passenger numbers are expected to continue to rise as travel restrictions ease and more places to go.

Last month, the government reinstated short-term visas for tourists which had been suspended in April 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world. The Department of Transport also removed restrictions on the number of incoming flights and a ban on arriving flights. between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. for the first time in two years and two months.

Flights between Seoul’s Gimpo and Tokyo’s Haneda airports resumed on June 29. Eight flights will fly per week and the number will gradually increase, according to the Department of Transport.

Following the resumption of the Gimpo-Haneda route, Korean Air Lines plans to operate a Gimpo-Osaka service. European flights, including on the Paris and Frankfurt routes, will be increased.

Three out of 10 passenger planes that were used as cargo planes by removing seats will be returned to passenger service.

“We expect to restore the number of available seats on international flights to 50% of what it was before the Covid-19 crisis by September,” a Korean Air Lines spokesperson said.

In April, the government said it would try to bring international flights back to 50% of pre-pandemic standards by the end of the year.

BY YOON SO-YEON [[email protected]]

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