Air Busan Opens Booking for New Japanese Destinations
By Do Je-hae
Air Busan, Asiana's low-cost air carrier will take reservations for flights from Busan with two Japanese cities starting this week before the launch of services the airline's first international routes.
Air Busan will make two round trips daily between Busan and Fukuoka starting Mar. 29 and Busan and Osaka from Apr. 26 on a code-sharing basis with Asiana.
Code sharing allows one carrier to sell its tickets on the other's flights in order to boost revenue by increasing passenger numbers and destinations.
The airline will operate a Busan-Fukuoka flight daily departing from Busan at 9:40 a.m. and returning from Fukuoka at 11:20 a.m., while Asiana's flight will depart from Busan at 5 p.m. and return from the Japanese city at 6:50 p.m.
Air Busan's Busan-Osaka flight will depart from Busan at 4 p.m. and return from Osaka at 6:10 p.m., while that of Asiana will depart from the port city at 9:30 a.m., returning from the Japanese city at 11:50 a.m.
Ahead of the March opening of services to Japanese cities, Air Busan recently introduced upgraded reservation services through its new Web site, airbusan.com.
The selection of the two Japanese cities demonstrates the Busan-based carrier's dedication to facilitate travel between the two countries with cheaper and faster access, according to CEO Kim Soo-cheon.
In particular, a supranational project to join the economies of Busan and its 20-year sister city of Fukuoka will spur additional passenger demand, Kim stressed in a press conference in October 2009.
"Busan and Fukuoka already share a long history of economic and cultural cooperation. The common economic zone project has created an urgency to increase flight connections," Kim said.
It takes about 50 minutes by air to cover the 208 kilometers between the two cities. Fares will cost from 150,000 to 170,000 won, 30 percent lower than major air carriers. On-board duty-free shopping will be available.
Going international is one of the airline's main strategies to lift itself out of the red and start seeing profits in 2011. It is expecting around 1 billion won (US$857,000) in annual revenue from the new routes.
The airline is also opening a new call center at 1666-3050.