Korean Air has made the surprising decision to launch a flight to London Gatwick, to complement with its present daily flights from Seoul Incheon to London Heathrow.
The airline will be launching three weekly flights to London Gatwick, effective IATA Northern Summer season of 2012 (27th March 2012, London departure on the 28th). The flight, which will have an almost 12 hour layover at Gatwick, will operate with the following schedule.
KE909 ICN 1840 - 2250 LGW 772 246
KE910 LGW 1030 - 0525+1 ICN 772 357
The airline's present daily London Heathrow flight operates with the following schedule.
KE907 ICN 1330 - 1715 LHR 744 D
KE908 LHR 1935 - 1420+1 ICN 744 D
While looking at the general operating environment of the two flights, the new Gatwick flight might seem rather odd at the first glance. However, when closely examining the two flights, it becomes clear that the flight is well scheduled to serve a purpose.
The airline has quite probably opted to operate the Gatwick flight in the evening instead of making it an early morning red-eye in order to capture a larger share of the connecting traffic arriving from its regional flow of flights in the evening.
The long layover at Gatwick, too will likely be catering for the same intention - capturing more transit traffic. However, this return flight from Gatwick is also likely to get hold of a larger share of the O&D market due to its favourable timings. And this, in turn might have been the key reason which led Korean Air to consider operating this flight out of London Gatwick, instead of Heathrow. 1030 is one of the most prime time slots at Heathrow, and it is no surprise that there weren't any slots for even a three weekly flight. Plus, parking fees at Gatwick are quite cheaper than at Heathrow, thus making the long layover less costly for the airline.
It would be nice to see another long haul airline at Gatwick again. But who knows, British Midland's slots sale might have a chance to change that too.