SEOUL: South Korea will resume 136 flights on 22 international routes, including one connecting Seoul and Tokyo, starting next month.

The five airports -- Gimpo, Gimhae, Jeju, Daegu and Yangyang -- will reopen the international routes from early June, Yonhap news agency quoted the state-run airport management company, Korea Airports Corporation (KAC) as saying Tuesday.

The KAC added the resumption of an air route between Seoul’s Gimpo and Tokyo’s Haneda airports is expected to be around June 8. It is the shortest flight route connecting the two capitals and served more than 2 million passengers before the pandemic.

“We have agreed to resume the route with Korean Air Lines, Asiana Airlines, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways,“ KAC President Yoon Hyeong Jung said.

The Gimpo-Haneda route has been suspended since March 2020 following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Other four local airports will also see the expansion of international flights, with the Gimhae airport in Busan to resume 76 international flights on 13 routes from next month, offering flight services to cities like Fukuoka, Bangkok, Hanoi and Ulaanbaatar.

With the normalisation of international flights, the KAC estimated this year’s international air travel demand to reach 2.52 million, which is only 12.4 per cent of 20.32 million in 2019.

Meanwhile, the KAC said it plans to host the Airport Council International (ACI)’s annual meeting in the southern port city of Busan in 2025.

The ACI is an international organisation representing the collective interests of airports around the world. It serves some 1,950 airports in 185 countries. - Bernama