SEOUL-- T'way Air Co., one of South Korea's six budget carriers, said Monday it has opened the second route from Jeju Island to Japan, a move to strengthen services on its non-Chinese routes.

Using the 189-seat B737-800 passenger jet, T'way Air began services on the Jeju Island-Tokyo route Saturday, the low-cost carrier said in a statement. In late June, the company kicked off flights between the resort island and Osaka.

T'way Air now operates four domestic routes to Jeju Island and 42 international routes to 27 cities in eight countries, including Guam, Saipan, Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong, it said.

South Korean airlines have diversified their routes to offset lower travel demand from China amid ongoing political tensions between the two countries over the deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea to deter North Korean provocations.

In March, Beijing banned the sale of group tour packages to South Korea in retaliation for the deployment, which it argues can be used to spy on its military.

Source: Yonhap News Agency