Starting July 25th, Jeju Air has begun operating regular flights twice a week between Jeju and Macau, every Tuesday and Saturday. The airline is deploying B737-800 aircraft on this route, with departure from Jeju at 10:40 PM local time and departure from Macau at 2:05 AM.
Jeju Air previously operated the Jeju-Macau route until October 2016, but it was a charter flight service at that time. The decision to resume flights to Macau was influenced by the route's popularity during its previous operation, with the Jeju-Macau route recording an occupancy rate hovering around high 90% in 2016.
The recent surge in foreign tourists visiting Jeju also played a pivotal role in the decision to resume the Macau route.
Jeju Air, which is partially owned by Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and has its headquarters in Jeju, has recovered its international flight operations from the drastic reduction caused by COVID-19, which later entered an endemic phase. However, the airline has not yet resumed international flights departing from Jeju itself, resulting in a public criticism from Jeju residents.
Before the pandemic, Jeju Air operated five international routes from Jeju to Fukuoka, Hong Kong, Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Bangkok.
However, amidst the direct impact of COVID-19, Jeju Air repeatedly applied for flight suspensions. International flights resumed in June last year, and the Jeju-Bangkok route was also reinstated. However, for the remaining four routes, flight suspensions continued. In this process, the last remaining irregular flight on the Jeju-Bangkok route was also recently suspended, leading to the complete disappearance of Jeju Air's international routes from the skies of Jeju.
With the announcement of the regular Jeju-Macau route, international flight routes from Jeju will now be diversified to include Singapore (Scoot Airlines), Beijing (Korean Air), Osaka (T'way Air), Taipei (T'way Air and Tigerair), Shanghai (Spring Airlines, Juneyao Airlines, and China Eastern Airlines), and Nanjing (Spring Airlines).
It is also known that Jeju Air is considering regular flights to Beijing in line with its expansion of international routes.
The airline is rushing to introduce new aircraft to accommodate the increased international flights. On June 28th, the airline brought its second B737-800 aircraft, with plans to bring in three more aircraft by the end of the year.
A Jeju Air representative stated that "Due to a shortage of aircraft before the COVID-19 era, we faced constraints in expanding routes." The representative added "Starting with the regular Jeju-Macau route, we will continue our efforts to resume and expand international flight operations from Jeju."
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.net)
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