Monday, 28 March 2022

Will Seoul-Zagreb Flights Really Return this Summer?

March 28, 2022 - The latest news on flights to Croatia as the return of Seoul-Zagreb flights this summer seems increasingly unlikely. 

After Zagreb Airport published its summer flight schedule, there was a discussion about the available flights between Zagreb and Seoul, a line that was canceled in November 2019, reports Croatian Aviation.

The airline's summer flight schedule is available on the official website of Zagreb International Airport. Among others, the announcements of two Korean airlines, T'way and Korean Air to Zagreb, stand out. But will those flights really happen?

Namely, the Korean MOLIT issued a license to T'way Air to operate up to four flights a week to Zagreb, so Korean Air temporarily lost that right. If they wish, there is no doubt that this airline will also receive the necessary permits from the competent authorities.

Because part of the Croatian Aviation editorial board previously worked for this airline, they are continuously receiving information about the possible return of Korean Air to Zagreb. The original plan was to launch the line with the start of the summer flight schedule. However, it was decided to postpone the start to May 3, and due to the impact of the pandemic in that Asian country, bookings are far weaker than expected, and the new delay resulted in moving the first flight to July 2.

In addition, due to the war in Ukraine, the airline does not expect that the demand for European travel will grow significantly. Hence, the announced return of Korean Air to Zagreb may be canceled. Tickets have been on sale for ten days for flights from July 2, but in case of cancellation, the airline will redirect passengers to Air France flights to Paris and then to the Korean Air flight to Seoul.

The low-cost T'way has already announced its arrival in Zagreb several times, and they have finally taken over their first wide-body aircraft, type A330-300. This line has been planned for June 1 this year, the tickets are not yet on sale, and it seems that there will be several operational changes here as well.

Croatian Aviation also received an official response from Korean Air: "At this point, we do not have a confirmed plan to resume our regular flight between ICN and ZAG. To consider resuming our suspended routes, we closely monitor changes in regional demand, quarantine and entry policies, and other external factors, and Zagreb is just one of them."

T'way plans flights between Zagreb and Seoul on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, while Korean Air plans operations like before the pandemic - Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Will both carriers operate in this year's summer flight schedule? Croatian Aviation believes they could be overly optimistic. 

If yes, there would be 165 return flights from two airlines (with T'way running nine more flights than Korean Air), and this low-cost airline would also offer more seats. Namely, the B787-9 Korean Air has a capacity of 269 seats, while the A330-300 T'way Airlines has a capacity of 347 seats. In total, according to the announcements of Zagreb Airport, these two airlines should offer 102,342 seats between Seoul and Zagreb, which seems too much for current demand.

For more, check out our travel section.

Sunday, 9 January 2022

T’way Air Seoul-Zagreb Flights Back on Table

January 9, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as Korean low-cost carrier T’way Air is putting Seoul-Zagreb flights back on the table this year, that is, once the pandemic allows it. 

Ex Yu Aviation reports that Korean T’way Air Seoul-Zagreb flights are back on the table with the introduction of the low-cost airline's Airbus A330-300 wide-body aircraft in February. Flights should commence from Seoul to Zagreb once the pandemic allows it as all permits have already been obtained for four-weekly flights between the South Korean and Croatian capital. T’way is also planning flights to Singapore and Sydney this year. 

Recall, Korean Air will not return to Zagreb this year due to the pandemic. The airline ran on a seasonal basis to the Croatian capital since 2018. 

Ex Yu Aviation adds that Korean Air was dominant between Seoul and Zagreb when it last operated flights in 2019, with over 95% of passengers originating from South Korea. 

"The only other South Korean city with notable traffic to Zagreb is its second-largest - Busan. In 2019, 4.691 passengers travelled indirectly between Busan and Zagreb on a single itinerary based on OAG data. The overwhelming majority of Korean travellers enter Croatia on a separate ticket via other European markets after spending several days in their original point of origin," reports Ex Yu Aviation. 

When speaking about if T’Way would take passengers from Korean Air, Croatian Ambassador to South Korea Damir Kusen recently said:

"We believe that this will certainly be an attractive option for younger travelers to Croatia due to the significantly lower priced tickets and will stimulate a new category of passengers."

T’way will also secure another two A330s in 2022 in hopes to become South Korea’s second-largest airline.

T'way would certainly be an excellent replacement in Zagreb for Korean Air. 

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

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Connecting Korea and Croatia: T'way Air Flights to Zagreb from 2022?

April 27, 2021 - The latest flight news to Croatia as T'way Air flights to Zagreb could connect the two capitals from next year. 

Croatian Aviation reports that South Korea’s low-cost airline, T’way Air, has signed a lease agreement for three A330-300 wide-body aircraft it will take over in early 2022. So far, the company has not had wide-body aircraft in its fleet and plans to launch several long-haul routes next summer, including one to Croatia. 

T'way currently has only narrow-body aircraft type B737-800 (27 of them) in its fleet, with which it operates on routes within South Korea, but also on several international routes to China, Japan, Russia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

After Korean Air canceled the Seoul-Zagreb-Seoul route, T’way received permission from the South Korean Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure to introduce a direct flight from South Korea to Croatia (up to a maximum of four flights per week). The company planned its first long-haul flights for this year, but as the global pandemic has not yet calmed, plans have been postponed until next year.

Tickets on the company's long-haul routes are not yet on sale for next year, and T'way has not yet announced the line between South Korea and Croatia. Still, when announcing the introduction of long-haul lines, the company's CEO confirmed that Croatia would be among the first destinations.

On the other hand, Korean Air is selling tickets on the direct line between Seoul and Zagreb starting in April next year, but it should be reminded that the tickets on the direct line were on sale this year as well, and there are no flights due to the global pandemic.

If Korean Air returns to Zagreb in the spring of 2022 (chances are slim), T’way’s logical destination would be Dubrovnik. As the largest Korean carrier is unlikely to return to Zagreb Airport, it is expected that this low-cost carrier will introduce a line between Seoul and Zagreb.

Korean Air had no success in Zagreb. There are several reasons, but one of the main ones is the company's pricing policy. Namely, for passengers departing from Zagreb to Seoul and other destinations in Asia and Australia, Korean Air was almost always the most expensive option. Also, the competition offered significantly more weekly flights (Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Turkish Airlines). Due to all the above, the share of Korean citizens on the line to and from Zagreb was 98%.

If T’way really launches flights to Croatia next summer, we can expect significantly cheaper ticket prices compared to those offered by Korean Air. Connections via Seoul would allow travelers from Croatia to continue traveling to numerous destinations in Japan and China. Since Emirates does not plan to return to Zagreb, it would be another good option for travelers to these countries. South Korean tourists have been one of the most important in Croatia for years, especially in Zagreb.

Before the pandemic, Korean Air planned a series of charter flights between Seoul and Dubrovnik in the summer of 2020 with a B777-300ER aircraft, and in addition to the regular route to Zagreb, which was to continue to operate 3 times a week with the aircraft type B787-9, additional charter flights to the capital of Croatia are planned.

Follow the latest on flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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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