The first tourism-related chartered passenger flight in seven years from mainland China to the South Korean holiday destination of Jeju Island, was welcomed on the first weekend of this month. The existence of the service was independently verified by GGRAsia, after checks of publicly-available information via the website of the local air hub, Jeju International Airport (pictured in a file photo). Local media had earlier reported it was the first charter flight in seven years.
Jeju, a semi-autonomous region, has a number of foreigner-only casinos.
Saturday’s charter service by West Airlines Co Ltd – known as West Air and based in the central China municipality of Chongqing – reportedly brought 180 passengers from Zhengzhou, principal city of east-central China’s Henan province. The local reports said two inbound charter flights from there would be staged weekly in future.
The seven-year hiatus in charter flights from China to Jeju had been linked to a wider dispute between China and South Korea regarding a missile system supplied to the latter by the United States, according to local media reports.
Lotte Tour Development Co Ltd, promoter of the Jeju Dream Tower casino resort on the island, said in a press release – citing tourism industry sources – that it understood that from this month there would also be charter flights serving Hefei, principal city of central China’s Anhui province; and Fuzhou, main city of the coastal province of Fujian. Following an enquiry from GGRAsia, Lotte Tour said the information was from local travel agencies. The carriers involved in such flights were not identified.
Lotte Tour’s release indicated that from December 1 there would additionally be four air charter services per week to Jeju from Guangzhou in China’s southeastern Guangdong province. Also in December, air charters were expected from, respectively: Chongqing; Qingdao, a port city in eastern Shandong province; Changsha, principal city of central Hunan province; and Wuhan, main city of central China’s Hubei province.
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