Korean Air to cut flights to Japan as diplomatic row hits demand

Seoul, July 29

Korean Air Lines will suspend its flights between the South Korean city of Busan and Japan’s Sapporo from Sept. 3 because of falling demand amid a worsening diplomatic and economic row between the two neighbours.

Last month, Japan tightened controls of exports of high-tech materials to South Korea, in apparent retaliation for a South Korean court ruling over wartime forced labour. Such disputes have prompted a widespread boycott of Japanese products and services, from beer to clothes and travel in South Korea.

Korean Air, South Korea’s top carrier, is also considering cutting the number of flights between the two countries or shifting to smaller aircraft from mid-August, a spokesman said.

Koreans were the second-biggest travelers to Japan only after China, accounting for 24.2% of visits last year, according to data from Japan National Tourism Organisation. Reuters