South Korea’s largest airline, Korean Air, is leaving Croatian market. The company closed sales on the Seoul – Zagreb – Seoul route for entire 2021. summer season, Croatian Aviation reports.
The well-known Korean airline launched a charter route between Seoul and Zagreb in April 2012. Since that year, Croatia has become a real hit among South Korean tourists who are coming to Croatia in a higher percentage year by year. The charter route was operated by B777-200ER and A330-200 aircraft, and on several occasions the largest type of aircraft from the airline’s fleet at that time, the Boeing B747-400, also operated on this route. The charter route was in operation until the resumption of a regular route, until the beginning of September 2018.
On September 1st, 2018, Korean Air launched a regular route between Seoul and Zagreb with three flights a week; on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, A330-200 aircraft operated on this route with a capacity of 218 passengers. In the first two months, the Seoul – Zagreb route was one of the top 3 routes in the entire Korean Air network!
Korean Air operates to world metropolises such as Los Angeles, New York, London, Bankgkok and others. For two months, the Zagreb route was in the top 3 routes by passenger demand in Korean Air network!
The route operated in 2018/2019. winter season via Zurich (Seoul – Zagreb – Zurich – Seoul), until end of December with B777-200ER aircraft, and from January with the newest aircraft in the fleet of this carrier, B787-9 Dreamliner. Korean Air was also the first airline with this type of aircraft on a regular route to Zagreb.
Authorities in Croatia did not allow Korean Air to sell passenger tickets on Zagreb – Zurich segment.
From spring 2019 (end of March) the route was direct again, running three times a week, and in September the company increased capacity by replacing the A330-200 with the B787-9 (269 instead of 218 seats), while a fourth flight was introduced in September, on Fridays.
Korean Air has announced flights via Zurich for the winter of 2019/2020. These operations thus took place until the end of November 2019. The company then announced that it would temporarily cancel flights to Zagreb (and Zurich) during winter, so traffic was suspended in December, due to low demand.
Tickets on the direct route could be purchased for flights from March 2020, but due to the impact of the pandemic, the company canceled all flights to Zagreb for this year, laid off employees in Croatia and closed its office at the airport.
Almost until yesterday, there were flights on sale on this route for the summer of 2021, but those are now unavailable for booking, so it is obvious that Korean Air will not return to Zagreb next year, which is a completely expected move given that we will have to wait some more time for the recovery of the market, especially the distant ones.
Korean Air had no success in Zagreb and the company will certainly consider whether to restart this route at all in the future. Namely, high air ticket prices certainly did not attract passengers from Croatia to use this carrier both to Seoul and to other destinations to which Korean Air flies and with which the Zagreb route had good connections (destinations such as Tokyo, Beijing, Sydney, Auckland, Brisbane, etc.).
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SOURCE: Croatian Aviation