SEOUL -- South Korea's second-largest carrier Asiana Airlines and Jeju Air, a low-cost carrier, will finally begin international non-landing scenic flights for local residents to come back home via Japanese airspace. Such programs are designed to help airlines ease financial woes caused by a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic that has grounded regular overseas travelers.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has approved domestic airlines to go ahead with international non-landing scenic flights for 12 months. The service by Asiana and Jeju Air begins on December 12. Passengers should use a separate airport corridor and masks are obligatory at all times. Planes will set up isolated areas for those showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Asiana will use Airbus A 380, well known by its nickname "flying hotel, to take passengers on a 400-minute non-landing flight that would enter Japan's airspace, before heading to South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju and returning to its home base in the western port city of Incheon.
Asiana tickets for business suite seats are 400,000 won ($368). Amenity kits will be given to passengers. In-flight duty-free items are available for a purchase limit of $600. Passengers must order items through an online shop before boarding. There will be no in-flight meal service to follow state quarantine guidelines.
Jeju Air will provide scenic flights from Incheon to airspace near Fukuoka some 885 kilometers (549 miles) southwest of Tokyo. Tickets are 198,000 won. Instead of offering an in-flight duty-free service, Jeju will provide discount vouchers for Shinsegae's duty-free stores. Passengers can order duty-free items through Shinsegae's online duty-free mall and collect their purchased items at the airport.
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