|Korean Air returns to Zagreb and mulls year-long flights|
Korean Air will resume its seasonal summer charters between Seoul and Zagreb starting next month as Croatia and South Korea look to finalise a Bilateral Air Service Agreement which could lead to scheduled year-long flights between the two countries. Korean Air will resume services to the Croatian capital on May 9 with a total of fifteen flights planned until August 22. The majority of the services will operate on Fridays, leaving Seoul in the morning and arriving in Zagreb in the afternoon, before departing later that same day and arriving in the South Korean capital the following morning. The number of flights offered have been extended compared to last year, when a total of seven rotations were performed. A mix of Boeing 777 and 747 aircraft will operate the route.
Korean Air is said to be considering launching scheduled services to Zagreb after running charter flights between Seoul and the Croatian capital for several years. As a result, South Korea has initiated the signing of a Bilateral Air Service Agreement with Croatia. The Croatian government has approved the draft agreement, which is to be signed in the coming period. The Korea Office of Civil Aviation initiated the Service Agreement late last year in order to regulate frequencies, designated airlines of the two signing countries, origin and intermediate points, traffic rights, type of aircraft and tax issues. In a statement, the Croatian government said, “There are currently no scheduled flights between Croatia and Korea, nor is there an air traffic agreement in place. During a series of high-level bilateral meetings last year, the Korean side expressed further interest in straitening mutual cooperation in the field of air transport, immediately submitting a proposal and text of a Bilateral Air Service Agreement”. It adds, “By concluding this agreement, the primary assumption is that regular nonstop flights between our two countries will be established”.
The Croatian Minister for Tourism, Darko Lorencin, has said that his country wants to set up scheduled flights to South Korea. “We are seeking to establish regular flights to Korea to cater to a surging number of Korean tourists visiting Croatia”. He added, “Korea is the most important market for us in Asia”. Last year, more than 252.000 South Koreans visited Croatia, about five times more than in previous years, with Korean tourists ahead of visitors from China and Japan. Ho Il-Sang, a spokesman for Korea’s top travel agency, Hana Tour, says, “Croatia is emerging as one of the most promising travel destinations for South Koreans who visit Europe”.