On October 26, Korean Air Co. said it will increase flight services to China by 40 percent next year and invest more in logistics infrastructure as the Chinese market is expected to boom with the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
Taking China as its "second home market," Korean Air, which currently flies to 20 Chinese cities, plans to add 12 more destinations by 2010 thanks to the open-sky agreement between the two countries. It is also scheduled to fly to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong three times a day next year as the open-sky contract allows air carriers to operate flights simply by informing the government of their destination.
"The Chinese market will serve as the central axis of our global operations to maintain our post as the world's No. 1 air cargo carrier and to become one of the global top 10 passenger carriers by 2010," said Korean Air chief executive Lee Jong-hee at the Incheon-Dalian route launch ceremony in the northeastern Chinese city in Liaoning Province. Dalian Mayor Xia Deren also attended the first celebration of its kind held by Korean Air in China.
The air carrier aims to increase Chinese sales from the estimated 830 billion won this year to 1.3 trillion won by 2010.
In addition to code sharing with China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Air China, Korean Air plans to extend partnership as a leading member of the SkyTeam to connect to more local flights.
Having agreed to launch an air cargo transport joint venture with China's largest logistics firm Sinotrans last month, Korean Air also plans to operate a cargo terminal as well in the future.