16 Nisan 2011 Cumartesi

Asiana flies to Istanbul to fuel Korean business, says CEO

‘The economic ties between South Korea and Turkey will be stronger due to the direct flights,’ says Asiana CEO Yoon Young-doo (back row, center).

‘The economic ties between South Korea and Turkey will be stronger due to the direct flights,’ says Asiana CEO Yoon Young-doo (back row, center).
Asiana Airlines, South Korean’s second largest air carrier, has launched direct flights between Seoul and Istanbul to accommodate the increasing business traffic between South Korea and Istanbul, according to the airline's head.

“I believe that the economic ties will be stronger due to the direct flights,” Asiana Airlines Chief Executive Office Yoon Young-doo said during a press 
conference Wednesday in Istanbul. “Not only Korean tourists but also Korean businessmen will flock to Turkey.”

The new route was inspired by the increased involvement of Korean businesses in Turkey, such as Samsung and LG, as well as the failed negotiations between Seoul and Ankara to construct a nuclear power plant in the Black Sea province of Sinop, Yoon told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

The number of business people who traveled with the airline increased during the talks on the atomic power plant, he said.

The airline has begun operating direct flights to Istanbul three times a week with Boeing 777-200 planes, Yoon said, adding that this would make it easy for passengers to use connecting flights to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Noting that Asiana was a Star Alliance partner of Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s flagship carrier, Yoon said the number of joint flights by the two companies would increase thanks to a memorandum of understanding.
“I expect the number of passengers to hit 50,000 this year,” he said.

“Asiana may start flights to Japan’s Fukushima city on June 30,” said Yoon in reference to the area of Japan where nuclear reactors were left leaking radiation after the country was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami March 11.

The airline plans to add six new Airbus A380s to its fleet this year for Europe- and U.S.-bound flights, said Yoon.

The CEO said the company posted total revenue of 4.4 billion in 2010 with a fleet of 78 planes and added that the airline carried 10 million passengers over the course of the year.

Korean religious tours peaking up 

Turkey has become a hot destination for Korean churches looking to visit religious sites in the country that was very important to early Christianity, according to the general manager of Asiana Airlines’ regional sales office.

“Most of the Korean churches are visiting Istanbul. There is a booming demand for Turkey,” Hong Il-kim told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Wednesday.

“Koreans used to travel to Western Europe only and later on to Eastern Europe, nearly 10 years ago,” said the manager. “[But] now, Koreans have discovered Turkey and the Middle Eastern countries. Going to Istanbul is the new trend among Korean travelers.”

The number of passengers who took a flight from South Korea to Turkey increased by 35.5 percent last year in comparison to the previous year. “The demand is booming on the Korean side,” Hong said, adding that nearly 26,000 Koreans visited Istanbul in 2010.

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