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South Korean government plans to fully restore international flights In 2023

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South Korean authorities have disclosed a three-phase plan to restore 50 percent of foreign flights by the end of 2022 and fully restore international services by the end of 2023.

The plan, which is expected to begin in May 2022, revises an earlier estimate that international aviation operations will be restored to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) presented the proposal on April 6, 2022, according to South Korea’s Pulse News.

The three phases are scheduled to begin in 2022, with the pandemic expected to reach endemic status by the end of current year.

By the end of 2022, the ministry hopes to restore half of the foreign flight services lost in 2019 by focusing on “where passenger demand is likely to recover swiftly.”

With 420 foreign flights per week, Korea today services less than 10% of its capacity, compared to 4,770 international flights per week in 2019.

Incheon International Airport, South Korea’s largest airport, currently averages fewer than 10 flights per hour, compared to 40 flights per hour in 2019.

The government plans to expand the number of weekly international flights to 520 in May 2022 and 620 in June 2022 during the first phase. This will concentrate on Singapore, Thailand, Europe, and the United States.

According to local media, additional efforts will be implemented to raise the number of international flight arrivals from 10 to 20 per hour and to extend the permit period for non-scheduled flight operations from one to two weeks.

Scheduled flights will also no longer require approval from the country’s public health authorities.

Phase two will begin in July 2020, with intentions to boost weekly flight services by 300 per month until December 2022, when there will be 2720 weekly international flight services.

The number of international flight arrivals per hour at Incheon International Airport will be increased to 30, and the non-scheduled flight permit duration will be extended to four weeks.

Phase three will begin in October 2022, assuming that COVID-19 will have become an endemic by then.

If all goes according to plan, hourly arrivals at Incheon International Airport will be returned to a regular level of 40 flights by October 2022, and international flight operations will be restored to 40% of 2019 levels by November 2022.

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