It seems that the South Korea-Japan trade row is turning in for the worse. Various South Korean airlines have announced a reduction on the number of Japan flights they provide. This announcement coincides with a drop in the number South Koreans heading for Japan most likely due to the growing tension between the two nations.
Korean Airlines, the largest airline in South Korea, announced that a reduction on their trips to Japan is necessary to accommodate the drop in demand. Among their Japan routes, their Busan-Sapporo journey will be the first one to be affected this September.
The company will indefinitely suspend the route while the trade war is still ongoing. To compensate passengers who have already booked a flight on the Busan-Sapporo trip, the company will provide them a domestic transfer flight to Incheon International Airport before heading out to Sapporo.
Even before the trade war, the airline has already announced plans to drop the route. However, the recent drop in demand made the suspension of the route come sooner.
A day after Korean Airlines, Asiana Airlines, South Korea’s second-largest airline, announced their plan to reduce their number of flights heading towards Fukuoka, Okinawa, and Osaka, Japan. The airline also announced that they would also do the same to other unspecified destinations starting this September.
Besides major airlines, low-cost airlines such as Air Busan Co., Eastar Jet, and T’way Air have also reacted the same. Flights to less popular Japan cities will be the first ones to be cut from the trips of these airlines. These cities include Narita, Oita, and Kumamoto. Jeju Air, Co., the largest budget airline, also implemented the same strategy as its counterparts.
The South Korea-Japan trade war escalated in the past months as scars due to the bitter history of the two countries had resurfaced. Just this July, Japan has placed an embargo on exports to South Korea of materials needed for high-tech equipment.
The trade war has affected numerous industries between both countries such as tourism, technology, and finance. Japan also plans to remove South Korea from its list of trusted trade partners. Experts say that this may damage the relationship of the nations further.
Featured image grabbed from Asiana Airlines website.