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Korean Air to increase U.S. and Europe flights starting in March

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Korean Air’s Boeing 787-9 [KOREAN AIR]
Korean Air will increase the number of flights to the United States and Europe in March.

The airline announced Wednesday that it will be flying at at least 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels starting late March.

Korean Air flew 445 flights average per week in December last year, which is 49 percent of pre-pandemic operations. It will have to add more than 100 flights each week to meet its target of 60 percent.

As the pent-up travel demand is estimated to hit in 2023, the airline industry in general is preparing for more passengers.

Airlines worldwide are expected to reach $779 billion in combined annual revenue and $4.7 billion in annual net profit this year, according to the International Air Transport Association. It is the first time since 2019 global airlines were project to report a combined net profit.

Flights to North America and Europe will lead Korean Air’s recovery. It plans to swap 777-300ERs, with 277 seats, with the A380s, which have 400 seats, in response to high demand for flights between Incheon and Los Angeles.

The carrier is also considering increasing flights to and from Madrid, Prague and other key European cities.

“Airfares will go down as the number of flights increases as planned,” said a spokesperson for Korean Air.

Asiana Airlines will increase flights to and from Japan from the current weekly average of 85 to 116 in March, up 36 percent. Jeju Air will resume Incheon-Taipei and Busan-Taipei flights starting Jan. 18. The carrier will fly each route seven times a week.

BY LEE SOO-KI [sohn.dongjoo@joongang.co.kr]