It’s all systems go for Qantas’ flights from Sydney to Seoul, with the airline receiving formal approval from Australian authorities well ahead of its inaugural service on December 10.
The International Air Services Commission has now rubber-stamped the route to be flown by both Qantas and its low-cost arm Jetstar on a five-year basis through to May 2027.
- Jetstar will be the first to fly, with a Boeing 787 taking off thrice-weekly between Sydney and Seoul from November 2; business class is the place to be on this 11-hour Jetstar 787 trip, even if the seats are more akin to premium economy
- December 10 sees Qantas follow with four Sydney-Seoul flights a week on its workhorse Airbus A330 featuring 28 lie-flat Business Suites, although there’s no premium economy cabin between business class and economy
South Korea, which recently reopened to tourists – including visa-free travel for Australians – has been on Qantas’ shortlist for some time.
“South Korea is Australia’s fourth largest trading partner and Koreans see Sydney as one of the top tourism destinations” says Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
“With expected strong business, premium leisure and low-cost travel demand on the route, we see an opportunity for both Qantas and Jetstar to fly on the route.”
In addition to its own attractions of a rich cultural history, vibrant nightlife and incredible food, South Korea country could also prove an appealing alternative to long-time favourite Hong Kong for Australians looking to add a fresh Asian flavour to their travels.
Qantas says South Korean travellers consistently rank Australia as the top destination they want to visit.
This return to Seoul – a route which Qantas axed in January 2008 – will put the Flying Kangaroo in competition with Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, ahead of a $2.2 billion merger which will see the Asiana brand disappear from the skies.
For much of 2022, Qantas’ expansion will be primarily driven by a focus on leisure travel and the ‘visiting friends and relatives’ market, although the business travel rebound isn’t far behind.
Seoul joins Delhi, Rome and Bangalore as the newest pins pushed into the Qantas network map.
Another new non-stop route between Melbourne and Dallas Forth Worth will open on December 2, while expectations remain high for those long-awaited Qantas flights between Perth and Johannesburg to complement its Sydney-Johannesburg route.