SEOUL, Oct. 7 (Korea Bizwire) — Air Busan Co., a budget carrier unit of Asiana Airlines Inc., said Monday it will open five new routes as part of a diversification strategy.
Air Busan plans to begin services on routes from Incheon to Ningbo, a sub-provincial city in northeast Zhejiang province, Nov. 12 and Shenzhen, a major city in Guangdong province, Nov. 13, the company said in a statement.
It will begin flights on three other routes from Incheon to Chengdu, a sub-provincial city that serves as the capital of Sichuan province; Kaohsiung, which is a coastal city in southern Taiwan; and Cebu in the Philippines within this year, it said.
Airlines have been diversifying their routes by reducing the number of flights to Japan since August and instead increasing flights on non-Japanese routes as they expect travel demand to Japanese cities will continue to remain weak for the time being.
In July, Japan tightened regulations on exports to South Korea of three high-tech materials crucial for the production of semiconductors and displays.
In August, Japan officially removed South Korea from its “whitelist” of countries given preferential treatment in trade procedures.
Japan’s move is seen as a retaliatory measure against a Seoul court ruling that ordered Japanese companies to compensate South Korean workers forced into labor during World War II.
Last month, South Korea also took Japan off its own list of favored trade partners in a tit-for-tat measure.
The low-cost carrier currently operates a fleet of 25 chartered planes, which are composed of 17 A321-200s and eight A320-200s. It has mainly served routes to Guam, Japan, China and Southeast Asian countries.
Asiana Airlines owns a 44 percent stake in Air Busan, with the Busan metropolitan city government controlling 5.02 percent and others the remainder.