S. Korea, Japan in close consultation over Gimpo-Haneda flight service resumption

SEOUL-- South Korea and Japan have had close consultations on the reopening of an air route between Seoul's Gimpo and Tokyo's Haneda airports after more than two years of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the transport ministry said Friday.

Policy discussions between the two governments are under way for the resumption of the flight services between major airports in their capitals, which have been suspended since March 2020, though the exact date of the reopening has yet to be fixed, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

"The ministry is discussing the issue with the (South Korean) foreign ministry, health authorities and other ministries concerned. Close consultation is also under way with the Japanese side, as Japan's virus situation should also be taken into account," the ministry said in a release.

On Monday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol expressed hope for the flight resumption this month to bolster bilateral exchanges during a meeting with a Japanese parliamentary delegation.

"Several due procedures are needed for the resumption, and when the route will be available would be confirmed after wrapping up the consultations with Japan," a ministry official said.

South Korea's major airlines, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, as well as such Japanese ones as Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, have applied for the resumption of the flight services.

Currently, the two countries operate flights between South Korea's main gateway Incheon International Airport and Japan's Narita International Airport, as well as the Incheon-Osaka route and several others linking Incheon and smaller Japanese cities.

Source: Yonhap News Agency