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British Airways resumed direct flight services to South Korea on Monday after 14
years, a senior official said Monday, amid growing economic ties between the two
The British flag carrier suspended regular flights to South Korean in 1998 when the Asian financial crisis hit South Korea and other countries in the region.
British Airways said it will operate six times a week non-stop between London's Heathrow and Incheon starting Monday with the Boeing 777-200 ER passenger jet.
"The reintroduction of British Airways services to Seoul can only act as a catalyst for further development of trade and tourism and deepen the links between two great global cities -- Seoul and London," Jamie Cassidy, British Airways' Area general manager for the Middle East and Asia Pacific, said in a news conference in Seoul.
Cassidy arrived in Seoul earlier Monday via British Airways flight from London to announce the resumption of flight services to South Korea, one of the biggest markets in East Asia.
The resumption of flight services comes as trade grows between the countries.
The United Kingdom is South Korea's second-largest European Union trading partner, with total trade surpassing 6 billion pounds (US$9.6 billion) per year, according to Cassidy.
He estimated a free trade deal with the EU will bring 500 million pounds of benefits to the United Kingdom each year and create many opportunities for Korean companies in the UK, particularly those in life sciences, green industries, creative industries, financial services and research and development.
South Korea and the EU implemented their free trade pact in July of last year.
"We are therefore very confident our new flight will contribute to the continued strengthening of business and social relationships between Korea and the UK," Cassidy said.
Yuh Tae-soo, director of the aviation marketing team at Incheon International Airport Corporation, said he expects the number of visits between Korea and the UK to reach 400,000 per year by 2015.