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Overseas travel demands to pick up as self-quarantine-upon-arrival lifted

Air, travel industry expect fast recovery, but face burden over soaring oil prices, Ukraine war

March 21, 2022 - 16:29 By Hong Yoo
Flight departure times are shown at Terminal 1 of Incheon Airport on Monday. (Yonhap)
Overseas travel demands in South Korea are expected to increase starting Monday as the government has exempted those vaccinated from the seven-day long self-quarantine when back in the country.

The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters announced that those that have gotten their first dose of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine within 14 days before arrival to South Korea and those that have completed their second or third dose of other vaccines are to be exempt from self-quarantine upon arrival.

This measure is expected to increase travelers at Incheon International Airport starting Monday, the day the measure comes into effect.

On Monday, Incheon International Airport expects a total of 11,717 travelers including 5,407 outbound and 6,310 arrivals.

This is a bit over the recent average of 10,000 travelers a day at Incheon International Airport, but the number shows that overseas travel demands are to gradually recover.

Before self-quarantine was exempt, travelers could only travel to countries the government had formed a travel bubble with such as Singapore and Saipan, without having to stay up locked for seven days upon arrival.

In response, airlines which had been hit hard by the pandemic are resuming international flights.

Asiana Airlines said it will resume flights to Nagoya, Japan starting from April 1.

The route from Incheon to Nagoya had come to a halt last April 29 due to the pandemic.

In addition, the air carrier will increase flights to major tourist spots in Japan starting this Sunday.

Asiana Airlines will have daily flights from Incheon to Narita, five flights a week from Incheon to Osaka, and two flights a week from Incheon to Fukuoka.

Starting from April 3, the air carrier will resume flights from Incheon to Hawaii, a route that had been stalled since March 2020.

Low-cost carriers are also gearing up for resumption of international flights.

Jeju Air will resume its flights from Busan to Saipan starting next Wednesday, and plans to increase the number of international flights it is currently operating such as those from Incheon to Osaka, Manila, and Cebu.

Jin Air will resume flights from Busan to Guam starting from April 16.

Although travel demands are expected to show recovery, increased oil prices are becoming a burden for the air industry.

Due to soaring jet fuel prices resulting from the war between Russia and Ukraine, airlines will raise fuel surcharges in April.

The surcharge for one-way tickets on international routes will range from 28,600 won ($23) to 211,900 won which is at most a 53.3 percent increase from this month.

The fuel surcharge has also been raised on domestic routes from 8,800 won to 9,900 won.

“We expect travel demands to pick up, but as we use around 30 percent of our operating expenses on oil, rising oil prices is a new imminent concern on hand,” said an industry official.