Korean Air Adds More Routes to Bangkok As Tourism Rebounds

Korean Air has added two additional weekly flights between Incheon and Bangkok in response to the resurgence of tourism to pre-Covid levels.

The airline is introducing more flights on the Incheon to Don Mueang Airport route, catering to the increased interest from Korean travellers looking to escape the cold in January and February, according to Kim Jongmin, the country manager.

Currently, Korean Air operates five daily flights to Bangkok, along with a daily flight to Phuket and two to Chiang Mai from Incheon.

Kim Jongmin stated, “We can now say our Thailand flight schedules have fully recovered from Covid-19 and have even increased in frequency”.

He mentioned that the airline continued its operations even during the pandemic.

The number of passengers on the Korea-Thailand flights surged by 190% last year, contributing to the airline’s profits, which reached US$11.3 billion, exceeding the figures from 2019.

Despite a slow recovery in Thailand’s tourism sector, with revenues yet to reach pre-pandemic figures, Koreans represented the third-largest group of international tourists in 2023, with 1.65 million visitors, trailing only Malaysia and China.

Thailand attracts Korean visitors with its urban sightseeing, retreats, and golf courses.

The Asia-Pacific region saw the highest increase in air traffic globally in 2023, with a growth rate of 126.1%, as reported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

ASEAN Routes

Korean Air remains a significant player in Southeast Asia, having also increased its services to Manila and Bali.

The company anticipates a full recovery in passenger numbers and capacity to pre-Covid levels by the first quarter of this year.

It expects sustained demand for long-haul flights and predicts a rise in revenue driven by the peak winter travel season.

Korean Air is also focusing on enhancing revenue by restarting suspended routes and expanding capacity to sought-after tourist locations in Southeast Asia and Japan.

Kim announced the addition of routes from Incheon to Phu Quoc in Vietnam and mentioned the airline’s bi-weekly flights to Vientiane, Laos, with plans for further expansion in the country.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Korean Air has entered into an agreement with Shell to purchase sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) starting from 2026 for a duration of five years. The airline initiated the use of SAF on its cargo flights last year.

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Korean Air is introducing more efficient aircraft models. The A220-300, A321neo, and B787-9 models are designed to reduce carbon emissions by 20-25% per seat compared to previous models of similar capacity.