South Korea and China have agreed to provide flight services between Seoul and Beijing in a move to reduce overall travel time, the transportation ministry said Tuesday.
The two nations recently signed a memorandum of understanding to allow their airlines to offer direct flights between Gimpo International Airport, west of Seoul, and Beijing International Airport starting in July, the ministry said in a press release.
The pact came after both countries agreed to open the new flight route in January 2009. It also came after South Korea opened direct flights between Seoul and Tokyo in 2003.
Under the deal, airlines from each nation will offer four daily flights on the new route by adjusting their service schedules, the ministry said.
Currently, Korean Air Lines Co. and smaller Asiana Airlines Inc. run 18 and 24 flights, respectively, between Incheon and Beijing every week. They will move some of those flights to cover flights between Seoul and Beijing.
The ministry said the new direct route between the two nations will enhance convenience for travelers as Gimpo is located closer to Seoul than Incheon International Airport, South Korea’s major gateway.
“We expect that the Seoul-Beijing route will save travel time to the airport by one hour (compared to going to the Incheon airport),” the ministry said. “It will help save time and cost, especially for business people who have to frequently travel to Beijing.”