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Korean Air is resuming services to Tianjin, China. It is one of multiple Korean carriers slowly resuming flights to China. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Korean Air Resumes Flights to Tianjin, China

Korean Air will be resuming passenger flights to Tianjin in neighboring northeast China after five months of service suspension. Flights between Incheon International Airport and Tianjin were suspended in early February due to the COVID-19 outbreak in China.

According to Korean Air, flights will run every two weeks on Tuesdays during July and August. Frequencies will increase to once a week beginning in September. With the resumption, the Skyteam carrier will operate three routes from South Korea to mainland China, including Tianjin, Shenyang and Guangzhou.

Despite the mandatory 14-day quarantine for all international arrivals to South Korea to contain COVID-19, South Korea has been allowing its carriers to resume flights on some passenger services to China since early July. According to South Korea’s transportation ministry, many of these halted services are being resumed in an effort to meet increasing demand from students and business travelers.

Other Korean Carriers Resuming Services

In mid-July, Asiana Airlines resumed service from Incheon to Nanjing, 105 days after the route was suspended amid the pandemic. That Nanjing flight operates once every week on Sundays. Jin Air, a local low-cost carrier owned by Korean Air’s Hanjin Group, announced that same week it would resume service to Xi’an, China from Jeju International Airport in Jeju City after nearly a six-month suspension. Before these flight resumptions, the only China-bound flights that have been operating from Incheon during the COVID-19 pandemic were to Shenyang, Changchun and Weihai. Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, and Jeju Air were the only airlines to operate the services, each flying there once per week, respectively.

Besides resuming China service, many South Korean carriers have already resumed flights to regional destinations such as Bangkok; Hanoi, Vietnam; Taiwan; Narita, Japan and Kansai, Japan. These services are mainly being resumed to bring overseas Koreans, especially those studying abroad and businessmen, back to the country.

South Korea’s government is in talks with China to increase the number between the two countries, and more of its local carriers, including Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Jin Air and Air Busan are expected to resume services on routes to Guangzhou, Nanjing, Xian and Shenzhen. Many South Korean carriers have mentioned that they are ready to resume services and intend to increase the number of flights and services to China depending on the approval of Chinese authorities.

Albert Kuan
Albert Kuan
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