Asiana Airlines Announces Flight Schedule for Ibaraki-Seoul Route Starting on Airport’s Opening Day
On October 26, South Korean carrier Asiana Airlines announced a flight schedule along a new route set to open in March 2010 that will connect Ibaraki Airport in Omitama, Ibaraki Prefecture with Seoul.
Asiana Managing Director and Japan Regional Director Dong Sil Hyun made the announcement at a press conference in the Ibaraki Prefectural Office, stating that under the schedule, daily flights will depart from Ibaraki at 1:00 p.m. (arriving in Seoul Incheon at 3:20 p.m.) and from Seoul Incheon at 10:00 a.m. (arriving in Ibaraki at 12:00 p.m.). The aircraft flown will be an Airbus A320, with eight business class seats and 133 economy class. Depending on changes in demand due to the season, school trips or other factors, the aircraft may be switched at an Airbus A321 (seats 177) or Boeing B767 (seats 250).
Asiana will begin operating the flights on March 11, the day the airport opens, but according to the Ibaraki Prefecture government, the official date of the opening is not yet set in stone, and it will make an announcement as soon as the permit procedures and such with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) are completed.
At the present time, only the Seoul route and one to Busan (start of operations to be announced) are confirmed for flight operations. According to Ibaraki Airport’s website, the prefecture is seeking partner airlines to fly domestically to Hokkaido, Osaka, Fukuoka and Okinawa, and internationally to Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macao, the Philippines, China and Taiwan.
The Ibaraki-Seoul route will be Asiana Airlines’ twenty-first between Japan and South Korea. Ibaraki Airport has been touted as a “low cost” airport, with “free parking, a compact terminal building, and large-scale economizing of processing times for departures and arrivals and of travel expenses as an airport with a new concept.”