South Korean carrier Asiana Airlines is set to launch seasonal flights between Melbourne and Seoul.
The direct service, which will operate every Tuesday and Thursday to Incheon Airport, will commence on 26 December using Asiana’s A350-900 aircraft. Flights will depart Melbourne at 10pm to arrive in Seoul the following morning.
Melbourne Airport’s head of aviation, Jim Parashos, said the new direct service will mean travellers and exporters will be able to avoid connecting through another city to reach South Korea.
“Victoria has increasingly close business links to South Korea, with companies making significant investments in our state, such as the new Hanwha Defence facility at Geelong,” he said.
“Melbourne Airport’s own ties with South Korea have been growing, with one of the country’s largest companies, Lotte, taking over operation of the airport’s duty free business in June.
“As the home of K-Pop, South Korea is attracting an increasing number of Australian tourists, while Melbourne’s major events such as the Australian Open are a huge drawcard for Korean visitors.
“We expect this seasonal service will prove popular, and we are hopeful it will pave the way for regular, year-round flights in the future.”
The news comes as Melbourne expects to be the first airport in Australia to surpass its pre-pandemic international capacity. International traffic in October 2023 was at 95 per cent of 2019 levels, and up 47 per cent on October 2022.
Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus praised her team for the result and said the next month would be significant for the continued recovery.
“We are on track to bring international seat numbers back above 2019 levels well ahead of forecast and ahead of other Australian airports,” she said.
“Higher capacity typically means lower prices so this is great news for consumers, and with an average daily international flight worth $154 million a year to the Victorian economy it’s also great news for the state.”