Korean Air boosts Chinese carrier deals

Korean Air will expand its codeshare services with China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, to include all routes connecting Korea and mainland China operated by both Korean Air and either of the two Chinese carriers.Korean Air and China Southern have a codeshare relationship since August 2004 on one route, between Incheon and Shenyang. From October, this will be expanded to all flights on the following eight routes: Incheon &#126 Shenyang, Incheon &#126 Beijing, Incheon &#126 Shanghai, Incheon &#126 Guangzhou, Incheon &#126 Dalian, Incheon &#126 Changsha, Incheon &#126 Yanji and Incheon &#126 Zhengzhou.

Codesharing between Korean Air and China Eastern began in November 1996, but the scope of cooperation has been limited to two regional routes, Busan &#126 Shanghai and Cheongju &#126 Shanghai. This too will be augmented to a total of 14 routes: Incheon &#126 Beijing, Incheon &#126 Shanghai, Incheon &#126 Qingtao, Incheon &#126 Weihei, Incheon &#126 Yantai, Incheon &#126 Sanya, Incheon &#126 Changsha, Incheon &#126 Kunming, Incheon &#126 Wuhan, Incheon &#126 Tunxi, Busan &#126 Shanghai, Cheongju &#126 Shanghai, Kwangju &#126 Shanghai, Jeju &#126 Beijing.

The massive expansion will allow travelers to reach most of the major destinations in China with more ease. For example on the Incheon &#126 Shanghai route, Korean Air’s three-daily operations will be supplemented with seven more flights each day - five operated by China Eastern and two by China Southern - to make 10 flights per day for Korean Air customers. Similarly on the Incheon &#126 Beijing route, seven China Eastern flights and 14 China Southern flights will be added to Korean Air’s existing 18 flights per week, making a total of 39 different schedules available for customers headed to or from China’s capital.

Last year, Korean Air proclaimed China as its second home market. Putting substance to this claim, eight of the 17 new routes inaugurated in 2006 were bound for China. (Incheon &#126 Yantai, Weihei, Guangzhou, Dalian, Shenzhen, Yanji, Changsha and Busan &#126 Beijing) It is expected that the aviation market in China, where the 2008 Olympic Games will be hosted, will see tremendous growth in terms of both passenger and freight. There is also a bilateral agreement between Korea and China to gradually open skies between the two countries.