New Delhi: Korean Air will start non-stop services between Delhi and South Korea’s capital Seoul from 1 December .
Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd, which operates Korean Air, said on its website that it will use its Airbus A330 aircraft to provide five-times a week service, offering “great connections to Japan and beyond.”
Korean Air, a member of international airline alliance SkyTeam, has 169 planes flying to 127 cities globally.
State-run Air India currently operates a Delhi to Seoul flight with a stopover in Hong Kong.
An analyst said the new flight will give more choices to passengers flying to the US west coast. That traffic is currently addressed by airlines like Cathay Pacific Airways and Singapore Airlines.
“They will be able to tap the San Francisco traffic,” said Chennai-based aviation analyst Mohan Ranganathan. “And if they give a good connection to Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, other airlines will have a hard time.”
India-South Korea trade has been rising. The 2015-16 bilateral annual trade between the two countries was about $16.59 billion even though India had a trade deficit of about $10 billion during the same period with South Korea.
Korean giants like Samsung, LG, Hyundai are household names in India while India’s Tata group, Mahindra and Aditya Birla Group have strong footprints in South Korea.
Former Jet Airways’ CEO, Steve Forte, said the airline will tap both kinds of traffic. “Surely a mix of business and leisure between the two capitals, depending on the season. Probably, it will try to funnel Indian origin traffic beyond Korea to other destinations through their Seoul hub,” Forte said.
India’s international traffic is growing at about 10% while domestic traffic is growing at about 20%.