S.Korea’s airline industry waging fierce price war in fall | Airlines

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South Korea’s airline sector is meeting high travel demand during the extended Chuseok (Thanksgiving) holidays late this month by aggressively offering promotions and discounts.

The reservation rate of major domestic low-cost carriers (LCCs) this month is in the mid-80% range, higher than in previous years.

Airline industry sources on Monday said the average reservation rate for international and domestic flights for Jeju Air Co., Jin Air and Air Busan Co. this month was in the mid-80% range, higher than last year’s average for all international flights of 73%. A major factor is the Chuseok holidays, which last six days from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3, or two days longer than Sept. 9-12 last year.

September is usually considered an off-peak season due to the start of school, but this month’s reservation rate is forecast to exceed the break-event point of 80%. “The reservation rate for certain international flights is over 90%, with many flights nearly sold out,” an industry source said.

Full service carriers and LCCs have begun to raise flight volume to meet surging demand. Korean Air Lines Co. this month will increase the frequency of its routes from Busan to the Japanese cities of Nagoya and Fukuoka, while Asiana Airlines Inc. will add flights during the Chuseok holidays.

Among LCCs, T’way Air Co. from Sept. 27 to Oct. 9 will temporarily add 60 international and 58 domestic flights. Easter Jet this month will raise its flight total to 257 on its Gimpo-Cheongju and Gimpo-Jeju routes.

Airline promotions also aggressively target travelers. Korean Air gives a 5% discount coupon for flights to Canada until Oct. 15 and 8% off a European flight if the ticket is purchased by Friday. Through year’s end, Asiana offers a discount coupon worth 20,000 won ($15.16) and a voucher for unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi to those flying to North America and Europe, including New York and London…
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