Jetstar is to start the first direct link by a low-cost carrier between South Korea and Australia flying its two-class Boeing 787 jets from Queensland’s Gold Coast to Seoul.
The three-times weekly service is expected to bring more than 50,000 visitors annually to the popular Queensland holiday destination and add $A170m to the region’s economy after flights start December 8.
It will operate in a codeshare partnership with Korean low-cost carrier Jeju Air and is hoping Korea will become a popular destination for Asian travelers.
Jeju is the biggest Korean LCC in terms of passengers and carries more than 10 million customers a year on over 70 Asia-Pacific routes.
Jetstar backed the launch with a 12-hour sale offering tickets as cheap as $A179 one-way starting noon May 3.
“By introducing low fares to Seoul, we expect that South Korea will be a country that jumps to the top of many Australian traveler’s bucket lists,” Jetstar chief executive Gareth Evans said.
“Seoul and its surrounding regions offer visitors the opportunity to explore South Korea’s rich cultural history, vibrant nightlife and food scene.
“We know from experience that low-cost flights have a strong influence on setting tourism trends, which we’ve seen in markets like Japan where the number of Australian visitors has doubled since we first launched flights in 2007.”
Evans also expects demand for inbound flights to Australia to be strong and says the airline chose the Gold Coast because of its beaches and attractions as well as direct Jetstar flights to seven other destinations across the country.
“Research shows that South Korean travelers consistently rank Australia as the top destination they want to visit, but they were unlikely to travel without low-cost direct flights,’’ he said
“South Koreans already travel more frequently than any other nationality in the Asia Pacific, so there’s no doubt they will take advantage of these new direct flights to Australia.”
The flights, designated JQ49 outbound from Gold Coast and JQ50 inbound, will operate Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
An early afternoon departure from the Gold Coast, they arrive in Seoul at 10:00 pm and depart at 11:30 pm to arrive in Australia at 9:45 am.