Three foreign airlines to open new flights to S.Korea

SEOUL, Aug 18, 2010 (AFP) - Three airlines will open new routes to South Korea this year, reflecting growing demand for international flights following the global downturn, officials said Wednesday.

The three are Malaysia's AirAsia X, Orient-Thai Airlines and United Arab Emirates' Ethihad Airways, the transport ministry said.

AirAsia X is expected to operate a flight between South Korea's main international airport in Incheon and Kuala Lumpur in November, it said.

Ethihad and Orient-Thai will open new routes between Incheon and Abu Dhabi and Bangkok each probably in late October, a ministry official told AFP.

Hawaii Airlines is also expected to open a flight between Incheon and Honolulu in 2011, he said.

"More foreign airline carriers are opening new routes amid rising global demand for airline services and their increasing interest in Incheon," the ministry said in a statement.

The industry has received a much-needed boost in recent months, helped by the recovery from global economic crisis, which had battered sales.

Premium ticket sales in the first half of this year jumped worldwide by 11.9 percent compared with the same period a year ago, according to the International Air Transport Association.

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