Korean Air outlines expected benefits of Gatwick-Seoul route

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Korean Air's (KAL) planned launch of flights between London Gatwick and Seoul Incheon will give it more flexibility and help it expand to new markets, according to the carrier's UK management team.

The South Korean flag carrier will operate flights three times a week between Gatwick and Seoul Incheon from 29 April, in addition to its existing daily service from London Heathrow.

This will allow KAL to offer morning departures, as well as same day connections for passengers flying to and from Australasian destinations, said Peter Barron, passenger sales manager for London.

"Coming back from Australasia [via Seoul], passengers have always had to stay over in Korea - but not anymore. It's going to deliver us a lot of new markets."

The Gatwick route also provides more opportunities for UK passengers to connect to China, Japan and Southeast Asia.

KAL hopes Gatwick will particularly appeal to London's Korean community, which is largely based in the south west of the city. Barron noted that many companies based in and around London do regular business with Korea. "We can offer them more options now," he said.

Barron said Gatwick had become more flexible since its acquisition by Global Infrastructure Partners at the end of 2009.

"When it was owned by BAA, the attitude was, 'You can fly where we want you to'. Now it's more competitive; they can offer us something we want, such as a morning departure slot."

Jeong Soo Park, general manager for KAL in London, added: "We wanted to increase our UK market and Gatwick gave us some incentives, including lower parking and landing fees."

KAL will deploy a Boeing 777-200ER on the Gatwick route, offering a total of 261 seats.