(MENAFN - Arab News) South Korean national flag carrier Korean Air resumed flights between its home country and Saudi Arabia on Saturday, about 15 years after it stopped flying the route.
The development is seen as an indication of the growing commercial, political and cultural ties between the two nations. Korean Air, which operates brand-new A330-200 aircraft, will launch three flights per week, linking Seoul with Riyadh and Jeddah initially.
Kim Jong-Yong, South Korean ambassador, said, "The decision to resume operation will eventually help to boost links between the Kingdom and South Korea." He pointed out that Korean Air suspended regular Riyadh-bound flights in 1997, when several Korean construction firms downsized their operations in the Kingdom. This led to the exodus of a large number of Korean workers at that time.
The resumption of regular flights was attributed mainly to Saudi Arabia's emerging as South Korea's fourth-largest trading partner after China, the United States and Japan.
South Korean companies have recently signed many contracts in the energy, construction, civil engineering and other infrastructure sectors in the Kingdom. On the trade front, the Kingdom and South Korea have forged closer ties with two-way trade exceeding 30 billion (SR 112.5 billion) annually. These factors emboldened the move of the Korean Air, which is now aggressively expanding its routes and buying new aircraft to counter the recession and high oil prices.
Kanoo Travel, general sales agent for Korean Air in Saudi Arabia, said airline flight number KE962 would depart from Jeddah at 11 a.m. and arrive at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh at 12.35 p.m. en route to Seoul. The flight will depart from Riyadh at 1.55 p.m. and will arrive at Incheon Airport in Seoul at 5 a.m. the next day. These flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.