Thursday, 16 June 2022

Korean Air Zagreb Charter Flights in Works for October 2022

June 16, 2022 - Croatian Aviation exclusively reveals that Korean Air Zagreb charter flights are in the plans for October, connecting Seoul and Zagreb later this year. 

A Croatian Aviation exclusive reveals that the Korean national airline and SkyTeam alliance member is planning charter flights to Zagreb in October this year!

The Korean airline used to operate on a regular route between Seoul and Zagreb until the outbreak of the pandemic. At one point, Korean Air announced on its official website the possibility of re-establishing this direct line this summer season, though this will not happen, which, given the reduced demand, was expected. The airline plans to replace the risk of re-establishing this regular line with charter operations between Seoul and Zagreb in October this year.

October, along with April and May, is the month in which Korean citizens travel the most abroad, so it is not surprising that operations are announced at the very end of the summer season. It is at the time of Chuseok when most citizens use their vacations and go on trips abroad.

Several South Korean tour operators are offering travel packages to Croatia in October, and an agreement was reached between the tour operator and Korean Air on conducting charter operations to the Croatian capital. The project is logistically supported by Croatian Aviation, primarily in the form of the organization of transport and crew accommodation in Zagreb.

Regular charter operations are planned once a week, from October 7 to 29 this year, with arrival in Zagreb on Friday and departure on Saturday.

Tour operators are also working on the option to turn the planned direct line between Seoul and Zagreb into a stop line in Athens in case of lower interest in holidays in Croatia. The final decision will be made in the coming months.

A330-200 aircraft with a capacity of 218 seats in Korean Air's fleet is planned for these charter flights. This type of aircraft was not frequent in Zagreb when Korean Air operated on a regular route between the two cities.

The airline claims that the decision on the summer flight schedule for next year has not yet been made, so the regular line between Seoul and Zagreb for the next summer season is questionable. As these are currently planned charter flights, operational changes are certainly possible.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Flights to Croatia: Korean Air Cancels Seoul-Zagreb in 2021

November 29, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as Korean Air cancels Seoul-Zagreb in 2021.

Ex Yu Aviation reports that there will be nothing of Korean Air’s Seoul-Zagreb service next year, as the sale of tickets on the seasonal line have been discontinued. The Korean national airline had announced prior that they would resume flights on this line on March 30, 2021, which would run three times a week, on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. This service was scheduled to be in operation until October 30, 2021, and was to use Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

The service was to offer 50.034 seats and 93 (one-way) flights next year.

The Seoul-Zagreb service did not work this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has particularly affected Korean Air since the virus ripped through Asia in January. 

Due to its hardships, at the beginning of November, Korean Air revealed it is planning to merge with competitor Asiana Airlines in a deal worth $1.6 billion. 

“The new integrated Korean flag carrier will rise to one of the top ten most competitive players in the global aviation industry, laying the groundwork to cope with the coronavirus crisis with efficiency and to leap forward in the post-pandemic era”, the airline said of the merger which should take two years. 

Korean Air initially launched the year-round service between the two capitals back in September 2018, worked as a  triangle routing from Seoul - Zagreb - Zurich - Seoul in the 2018/19 winter season, and became seasonal in 2019. Because Korean Air handled 43, 123 passengers between the two cities in 2019, the airline had plans to increase its summer capacity this year from the Airbus A330 to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

But not all hope is lost. Korean Air is offering alternatives from Seoul to Zagreb from other European cities, like Frankfurt, Paris, and Zurich. 

Low-cost carrier T’Way Air also announced plans to operate flights to Croatia when conditions are met. They have so far received the necessary permits from the Korean Ministry for Land, Infrastructure, and Transport to operate up to four flights a week to Croatia. 

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Saturday, 9 May 2020

Flights to Croatia: Korean Air Cancels Seasonal Zagreb Service, Air Transat Delayed

May 8, 2020 - Korean Air has stopped ticket sales to Zagreb, while Air Transat has pushed back its Zagreb service to July. 

Ex Yu Aviation announced that Korean Air will not resume its seasonal service between Seoul and Zagreb from September 1, and has officially stopped ticket sales. 

This isn’t entirely surprising given the COVID-19 pandemic, as Korean Air will only operate at 20% of its usual international capacity, or only 32 of its 110 international routes (just 146 flights per week). In May, Korean Air is running only 13 routes, or 55 per week. 

Recall, the Seoul-Zagreb service should have resumed in March but was delayed first until June, and then September as the coronavirus spread globally. 

In 2019, Korean Air handled 43,123 passengers on the Seoul-Zagreb service. 

Furthermore, Ex Yu Aviation reports that Canadian carrier Air Transat has delayed its seasonal service between Toronto and Zagreb by a month, until July 2. The airline has plans to fly to Zagreb three times per week until mid-September, and then two times per week until late October. However, nothing is guaranteed. 

Because of COVID-19, the Canadian airline has suspended all services until June 30. 

"These are extraordinary circumstances, when all airlines and travel companies have been forced to temporarily halt or drastically reduce their operations while governments have decided to close their borders. This unprecedented situation is well beyond our control,” Air Transat said in a statement. 

Recall, Air Canada Rouge already suspended its service between Toronto and Zagreb this year.

If you're wondering about how the future of flights to Croatia will look in the post-corona world, TCN caught up with Max Oldorf, COO of the aviation data company, ch-aviation. You can read our interview here.

Need to find the latest Croatia COVID-19 travel advice? When will borders open, flights take off, and tourism finally begin? Check out our overview of what we know at the moment here.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Korean Air Zagreb Service Delayed Again, Air Canada Rouge to Resume in 2021

April 17, 2020 - After the news that Emirates would delay its Zagreb-Dubai service from May to July, Korean Air and Air Canada Rouge announced changes in their services to the Croatian capital.

Namely, Ex Yu Aviation reports that while Korean Air originally planned to resume operations in June, the non-stop service between Seoul and Zagreb is now delayed until September due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bookings are closed until September 1.

Ex Yu Aviation adds that Korean Air will resume the service with three flights per week, with departures from Seoul on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

The route will operate with the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, with capacity for 269 passengers, and could potentially work into the winter months. 

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Korean Air will put 70% of its 19,000 staff members on temporary leave from April 16 until the middle of October. Furthermore, 390 foreign pilots are on three months of unpaid leave from April 1. The airline has also suspended more than 90% of its flights on international routes and currently only maintains services Paris and London.

Korean Air will, however, offer alternatives to Zagreb via other European destinations until September. 

“We will see what happens with this entire situation. We sincerely hope that all of this will be over as soon as possible and for us to be able to resume normal operations to some extent in April,” Zagreb Airport said at the beginning of April. The airport is currently only handling flights from Croatia Airlines and Eurowings and is the only airport with commercial flights in Croatia and the wider region at the moment. 

Furthermore, Ex Yu Aviation reports that while operations were to resume on June 4 this year, Air Canada Rouge will not run between Toronto and Zagreb this summer, with services expected to resume in 2021. Its other seasonal summer flights in the region have also been canceled.

“Passengers will still be able to reach Zagreb from Toronto with Air Canada thanks to its wide-ranging codeshare partnership with Croatia Airlines, once both carriers resume the majority of their operations. Air Canada codeshares on its counterparts’ flights from Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, London Heathrow, Paris and Zurich to the Croatian capital. At this point, the Canadian carrier plans to resume services to these European destinations in June and July. Air Canada is not offering refunds for cancelled flights but is instead providing credits which can be used for another flight within the next 24 months. The Canadian Transportation Agency says airlines are not obliged to pay back passengers for trips suspended due to the coronavirus and “should not be expected to take steps that could threaten their economic viability,” writes Ex Yu Aviation. 

The Air Transat service between Toronto and Zagreb, however, is still scheduled to resume flights on June 2.

Recall, Ex Yu Aviation reported last week that Emirates delayed the start date of its daily seasonal service between Dubai and Zagreb from May 1 to July 1, 2020, instead of suspending the service for an entire year, as many others have thus far. 

“Emirates has published a tentative schedule outlining its operations for the coming months. The airline is expected to resume the majority of its services, albeit at a reduced frequency, from late May and early June. Starting July, flights to Zagreb will be maintained on a daily basis with the carrier’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which has the capacity to seat 354 passengers. Further changes remain possible,” writes Ex Yu Aviation on its website. 

Flydubai, Emirates partner, which runs to Dubrovnik, will resume regular services “when the time is right”, but until then, it will fly for repatriation purposes. Flydubai has been operating repatriation flights to Zagreb over the last few weeks for travelers to continue to their destinations via Croatia Airlines flights.

"We look forward to resuming our operations when the time is right and we are working closely with the authorities,” said Chief Commercial Officer, Hamad Obaidalla.

American Airlines and Qatar Airways are suspending their seasonal services to Dubrovnik until 2021. 

Croatia Airlines has suspended operations to London Heathrow until at least April 19, though the national carrier is still operating flights to Frankfurt and Brussels. 

Lufthansa Group confirmed the Germanwings closurewhich is another important player in the Croatian low-cost market, and AirBaltic has canceled the newly announced flights between Lithuania and Croatia. 

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Korean Air First Airline to Cancel Flights to Zagreb Due to Coronavirus

March 2, 2020 - Due to the fear of coronavirus, Korean Air is the first airline to cancel flights to Zagreb. 

Namely, Index.hr reports that Korean Air has canceled its Seoul-Zagreb route. These flights were scheduled to begin on March 31, 2020, but were canceled by South Korea's national carrier Korean Air due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Their website lists the lines that have been canceled by each region of the world. Thus, several flights have been canceled for Europe, with some flying less frequently than before.

The line to Zagreb was canceled, according to current information, until April 23, 2020.

Recall that since the onset of the coronavirus epidemic, numerous flights of various airlines to many destinations have been canceled. The first airline to cancel its flights to Wuhan and parts of China was British Airways, which called for the safety of its staff and said it did not want to jeopardize them.

Some of the other companies, in turn, have said they are reducing the number of flights due to reduced demand.

In addition, South Korea, of which Korean Air is from, has the highest number of coronavirus infected after China with more than 4,000 cases.

More soon...

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Flights to Croatia: Korean Air Suspends Winter Service to Zagreb

October 3, 2019 - The latest news from around Croatia’s airports for new flights to Croatia with updates from Zagreb, Rijeka, and Zadar. 

After Korean Air announced they would reduce the capacity between Seoul and Zagreb this winter, operating three weekly services on the 218-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft, the airline has instead decided to discontinue the service this winter.

Namely, Avio Radar and Ex Yu Aviation report that the Seoul-Zagreb service will not run this winter, though services will resume on April 1, 2020. As reported, the service will run between the two capitals only until November 29, 2019. Tickets sales have thus been discontinued. 

Recall, during the 2018/19 winter season, Korean Air operated using the 261-seat Boeing 777-200ER aircraft from late October, which was replaced by the B787-9 from January.

Unlike the winter, the summer months have been excellent for Korean Air. Recall, the airline increased operations from three to four times a week in September. 

“Since the launch of the route between Seoul and Zagreb, it has been performing with a high load factor. There has been growth this summer season, mainly on demand originating from Korea,” Korean Air said earlier this year. Korean Air began operations to Zagreb in September 2018 - and the Croatian capital is one of the airlines busiest destinations. 

In other news, Avio Radar reports that LOT is coming to Rijeka with a new direct seasonal service from Warsaw. The route will run from March 29 to October 18, once a week on Sundays. The flight lands in Rijeka at 15:30 and departs for Warsaw at 16:20. An Embraer E195 aircraft, which has the capacity for 118 passengers, will service this line. 

To conclude, Avio Radar reports that SAS Scandinavian Airlines, a Star Alliance member, added a new Croatian destination to their 2020 summer flight schedule. Namely, the airline will service Zadar in addition to the existing routes to Dubrovnik, Pula, and Split. 

The new Copenhagen-Zadar route will operate twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, from June 30 to August 8, 2020. A Canadair CRJ-900 will be used for this line. 

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Monday, 16 September 2019

Flights to Croatia: Korean Air Reduces Winter Capacity, Smartwings Boosts Split Service

September 16, 2019 - The latest news from around Croatia’s airports for new flights to Croatia with updates from Zagreb and Split.

Avio Radar reports that Korean national carrier Korean Air, a member of the SkyTeam Airline Alliance, will reduce aircraft capacity slightly on its route between Seoul (Incheon Airport) and Zagreb in the coming winter flight schedule. 

Thus, instead of the new and larger Boeing 787-7 Dreamliner aircraft, which flew last winter and this summer, the upcoming winter season will feature the Airbus A330-200, which has the capacity for 218 passengers. The winter schedule will run from November 2019 to March 2020. 

Additionally, Korean Air will continue to operate on the Seoul-Zagreb-Zurich-Seoul route this winter. 

Moving from the capital to the coast, Avio Radar also reports that Czech carrier Smartwings will increase operations on their service between Poland and Split for the 2020 summer season. Namely, the airline will run three flights per week on both lines - Warsaw (Frederic Chopin Airport) and Split-Katowice. 

In addition to this year’s one flight per week, which took off on Thursdays, two flights have been added per week on both routes - on Mondays and Saturdays. These new lines will begin working on May 25, 2020. The end of traffic on these routes is still unknown, though tickets are currently on sale until September 7, 2020. Smartwings will operate both routes using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft. 

Recall, TCN recently reported that national carrier Croatia Airlines would add a one flight per week between Brussels and Zagreb this winter, totaling to 12 per week. Furthermore, the seasonal service between Zagreb and Dublin will work until January 26, 2020, while its operations between Zagreb and Lisbon will end at the end of October. 

Croatia Airlines will maintain the same winter operations for other Croatian cities this year, which include flights from Split to Frankfurt, Munich and Rome, Dubrovnik to Frankfurt, and Rijeka to Munich. Croatia Airlines has also announced no changes to its winter operations between Croatian locations. 

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Friday, 4 January 2019

Korean Air Introduces Dreamliner for Zagreb-Seoul Winter Operations

From the beginning of 2019, Korean Air introduced the Dreamliner Boeing 787-9 aircraft for winter operations on the popular Zagreb-Seoul route, reports AvioRadar and Ex Yu Aviation on January 4, 2018. 

Recall, Korean Air launched the route between Zagreb and Seoul in September 2018, which was also the first service between Croatia and East Asia directly. Currently, or precisely during the winter months, Korean Air will operate three weekly flights, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, via Zurich. The schedule has proven very favorable for passengers

“I congratulate Korean Air on introducing the Dreamliner on the flight to Zagreb. This airline became the first to fly the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on a scheduled flight to Zagreb. I believe that Korean Air will continue to strongly contribute to the positive results that Franjo Tudjman Airport continuously records and also further leverage Zagreb’s overall tourist traffic in 2019,” said Huseyin Bahadir Bedir, the president of the company MZLZ d.d. 

“I am very excited that Korean Air is operating the Dreamliner on the route between Zagreb and Seoul and that we are the first to fly this type of aircraft to Zagreb. We will fly this aircraft throughout the winter season, more precisely from January 2 to March 2019,” said Yeong Ho Choe, general manager for Korean Air in the Central and Eastern Europe region. 

The B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft is known as an environmentally friendly aircraft that offers advanced Boeing technology. Thanks to larger windows, higher ceilings, and an increased level of humidity, it gives passengers an even more enjoyable in-flight experience. 

The Dreamliner boasts 269 seats, with 6 passengers in first class, 18 in business, and 245 in economy class, which is an increase in capacity from the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. In March, Korean Air will operate it’s three-class 218-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft between Zagreb and Seoul. 

Won-Tae Cho, president of Korean Air, said that fuel-efficient jets like the Boeing 787-9 allow the airline to reduce costs and improve business.

"This will give us an opportunity to improve our results and further expand in markets such as Croatia. We will focus on various overseas routes,” Won-Tae Cho concluded. 

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

From Korea to Zagreb: Soyeon Won Reflects on Decade in Croatia

While the headlines continue to be dominated by the depressing tales of the mass exodus of Croatia's inhabitants to other countries, there is a much quieter, but still very much present, trickle of foreigners making Croatia their permanent home. One of these people made the journey from Asia, and relocated from Korea to Zagreb in search of happiness, which she well and truly found.

''If someone is looking for a nice place to live, I'd certainly recommend Croatia, but if they're coming to develop their career and earn money, I'd definitely offer them some friendly advise to go somewhere else,'' says 35-year-old Soyeon Won, who relocated from Korea to Zagreb almost a decade ago,.

As Novac.hr/Jutarnji/Boris Oresic writes on the 8th of December, 2018, back in 2015, she opened the Korean restaurant Cro K on Ulica pod Zidom (Street under the Wall) near Dolac in central Zagreb. Cro stands for Croatia, and K for Korea. Soyeon states that she's so fond of the name Cro, that she named her eldest son, who is now eight, Cro, because he was born in Croatia. In Korea, as she says, there is no such male name, but regardless, it sounds good to her.

It's no secret that South Korean people love Croatia, which is best evidenced by the data proving that a growing number of tourists are visiting Croatia from this distant country in which the Croatian tourist offer has been being very well advertised over recent years. There have also been some very popular TV shows which were shot in Croatia, after which the curious Koreans, fascinated by the beauty of the cities and nature that they saw on their screens, began visiting in larger numbers.

Some, like Yo Han Kima, a Korean shop owner, came to Croatia on holiday, and they ended up liking it so much that they decided to stay, live here permanently, and even start their own business. Gye Yoen Cho from the Korean Embassy in Zagreb revealed that according to her knowledge, around 180 South Korean citizens have made the move from Korea to live in Croatia, but as they're not required to report to the embassy, ​​the actual number is certainly somewhat higher than we'd expect. A good deal of them came to Croatia to study initially and ended up staying, while some work in Korean company offices, particularly Samsung.

The amount of people who have either tried, or have successfully made the move from Korea to Zagreb and beyond remains unknown by the embassy, but their numbers are likely higher than we might imagine.

"There are more and more Korean tourists in Croatia and I hope there will also be more investors. For the time being, there aren't many examples of that, but there is a lot of research on the market and they're exploring opportunities to launch jobs mainly related to tourism, as well as more significant investments,'' says Gye Yoen Cho.

According to the latest data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, during the first eight months of this year, Croatia increased its exports to South Korea by 117.5 percent compared to the same period last year, to 509.33 million kuna. At the same time, imports increased by 51 percent to approximately 917 million kuna. Economic co-operation between Korea and Croatia continues to grow, but not as fast as it could, and Croatia hasn't particularly emphasised its desire to attract direct investments from that Asian country, as was highlighted last week and at the Korean-Croatian Economic Forum which was held in Zagreb.

Last year, Croatia was visited by a massive 444,000 Korean tourists, and it is expected that this year, those numbers will be even higher. In the first seven months of 2018, there were 180,000 Korean tourists, or 29 percent more than in the same period of 2017.

In Zagreb, Koreans have been by far the most numerous guests for a number of years now, and in the first half of this year, the Croatian capital was visited 55,600 Koreans, which is 43 percent more than last year.

Everyone expects that these positive trends will continue in the coming years, especially as two Korean reality shows have been recorded in Croatia this year, and Korean Air also introduced a direct connection between Zagreb and Seoul which runs twice a week, which made the Croatian capital and the rest of the country as a whole much more accessible to Koreans than ever before.

Korean Air's sales representative for Central and Eastern Europe, Michal Ohnesorg, told Globus that this welcome direct line was introduced primarily owing to a large number of Korean tourists travelling to Croatia. Additionally, the number of travellers from Croatia and neighbouring countries who are heading to Korea or specifically Seoul as their final destination has also increased.

"We believe that the introduction of Seoul - Zagreb connection was a good business decision and we're confident that this line will be successful in the future," concluded Ohnesorg.

Research has shown that Korean tourists typically look to travel to destinations which inspire them, where they will learn something about history and the local lifestyle, expand their knowledge and their perspectives, and they travel with the same intensity for twelve months of the year. When at home Koreans, regularly visit Korean restaurants, and in the Croatian capital, thanks to those making the move from Korea to Zagreb, there are two already, Cro K in the very centre of Zagreb, and Omma on Unska street in Trnje.

Cro K's owner Soyeon Won studied Italian language and literature at home in Korea, and she worked as a translator and dreamed of completing her studies in Italy. Then she got married and her husband got a job at the Korean Embassy in Zagreb, which she liked very much because Croatia is so close to Italy. She then relocated from Korea to Zagreb.

By then, her husband had three years of cooking experience behind him from working in restaurants in America. She admited to Novac.hr/Jutarnji, that she herself had nothing to do with gastronomy. When their sons, born in Croatia, grew up a little, Soyeon Won began thinking about starting her own business, and so in June 2015, she cemented her move from Korea to Zagreb by opening the city's central Korean restaurant after finding a suitable space, right in the heart of Zagreb, where there used to be a cafe. They had to invest heavily in decorating. On the ground floor there is a 33-seat dining room and another 40-seat room in the basement, as well as the obvious - a kitchen.

"My friend has restaurants in Vienna and he was astonished when I told him what the price of renting space in the centre of Zagreb is, it's almost like it is in Vienna.

Zagreb is comparatively quiet and comfortable when compared to Seoul. In Korea, they all compete and compare with each other. Here, we're happy, the kids go to the British school, and my husband recently opened a company that deals with the sale of metal products from Korea. When I started this job, my acquaintance with people from Croatia helped me greatly with the administration, which is far more complicated than it is in Korea, was very important to me. My husband says that it isn't as demanding even in America as it is in Croatia,'' says the young Korean, satisfied with the fact that she has more and more guests every year, especially in the tourist season, which runs from March until November.

Therefore, she adds, she's happy with not only her move from Korea to Zagreb, but with her business, and she hopes that next year will be even better than this one.

The restaurant's guests are mostly tourists, not just Koreans, but, as she reveals, there are plenty of Germans, French, Americans, Chinese, Malaysians, and others who like Korean food. But it's no surprise that Croats also often come to try something new and exotic, and some have already become very regular guests.

In the beginning, Soyeon Won was mostly cooking everything herself, but one year later, there were some Korean chefs, two young men who moved from Seoul to work with her in Zagreb. She employs four chefs and three waiters. Soyeon added that it isn't easy to keep hold of Croatian workers during the summer because everyone prefers to go to work on the coast where they typically earn more money.

"The laws in Croatia are much more inclined towards workers than they are in Korea. It's happened to me that a waiter or chef has told me that he can't work, and I can't do anything about it. There are many reasons it is not really easy to do business in Croatia, I know some Koreans who came here to try something, but quickly gave up. I don't intend to go anywhere.

Every summer we go to the coast and have never seen such a beautiful coast as Dalmatia, and I have more and more friends who are Croats. I don't include myself among those Koreans who just can't live without kimchi, Korean fermented spicy cabbage, so at home, I often prepare European dishes, and I love Croatian food, particularly sarma and kulen,'' says Soyeon Won.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more stories from not only those who have made the move from Korea to Zagreb, but of many of Croatia's foreign residents from close to home in Europe, and from much further afield.

 

Click here for the original article by Boris Oresic for Novac.hr/Jutarnji

Monday, 17 September 2018

Zagreb Becomes One of Korean Air's Best Performing Routes

Korean Air's new Zagreb-Seoul route is already a big hit. 

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