Korea op­er­ates new route over China

The Korea Times - - NATIONAL - By Kim Jae-heun [email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

Trav­el­ing to Europe and the Mid­dle East has be­come a lot faster and con­ve­nient for Kore­ans as an ad­di­tional air­way cross­ing the Chi­nese ter­ri­tory opened for op­er­a­tion yes­ter­day.

This comes as the Min­istry of Land, In­fras­truc­ture, and Trans­port (MOLIT), reached an agree­ment with the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment Wed­nes­day, to dou­ble-track the air­way over its ter­ri­tory from a sin­gle one.

The dis­cus­sion on the ad­di­tional air­way started in 2016, how­ever, the de­ci­sion was de­layed due to the de­ploy­ment of a Ter­mi­nal High Alti­tude Area De­fense (THAAD) an anti-mis­sile sys­tem to Korea.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions got back on track this May and the two coun­tries fi­nal­ized the deal to dou­ble-track the air­way dur­ing a meet­ing held in Dalian.

The sin­gle air road has been used for the two coun­tries’ planes to fly in and out of Korea and to­wards the Mid­dle East and Europe.

The sin­gle track route ar­rivals and de­par­tures used dif­fer­ent al­ti­tudes, where as the new dou­ble route track will op­er­ate one for in­bound and the other out­bound.

For decades, the sin­gle air way was no­to­ri­ous for con­ges­tion, which caused many de­lays par­tic­u­larly to Euro­pean coun­tries.

The topic of dou­bling the sin­gle sky route has been raised for long time as it was the busiest among the five ma­jor air routes fly­ing in and out of Korea, said the MOLIT.

Cur­rently, 77 air­lin­ers fly up to 400 planes from In­cheon to 60 coun­tries and 106 dif­fer­ent cities around the world us­ing the sky road above China.

The MOLIT ex­pects over 150,000 planes a year to ben­e­fit from this agree­ment.

The rate of Euro­pean flights be­ing de­layed for over an hour was 12 per­cent (2,188 flights). The gov­ern­ment says this will be re­duced to 7 per­cent (1,276 flights).

The traf­fic ease will lessen pas­sen­gers’ in­con­ve­nience, some of whom would have to wait 60 min­utes in the plane un­til it took off. The air­lin­ers will also save fuel by de­part­ing faster.

“With the agree­ment of a dou­ble-track op­er­a­tion for sky ways above the Chi­nese ter­ri­tory, the traf­fic con­ges­tion will be eased and it will cer­tainly con­trib­ute to avi­a­tion ef­fi­ciency in the East Asian re­gion,” a MOLIT of­fi­cial said.

“If the North and South Korean re­la­tion­ship im­proves and the in­ter­na­tional route above the western sea opens up, it will re­lieve traf­fic con­ges­tion and re­duce the flight delay rate here,” a MOLIT of­fi­cial added.

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