Will lobby for direct flights from Bengaluru: S Korean envoy

Will lobby for direct flights from Bengaluru: S Korean envoy

Cho Hyun, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to India, on Friday said that there are plans to increase air connectivity between his country and India, in a bid to strengthen ties between the two Asian powerhouses, hinting at Bengaluru becoming one of the potential destinations where Korean airlines could land.

Speaking at the Korea Caravan 2015 — the Korea-Karnataka Summit — here on Friday, he mentioned that he will speak with Korean airline companies to start direct flights between South Korea and Bengaluru since there are plenty of opportunities for Koreans to do business in Karnataka.

Interacting with Deccan Herald later, the ambassador was more specific. Cho said: “After talking with Industries Minister R V Deshpande and Korean businessmen in Bengaluru, I learnt that this city is the right place to have a direct flight. Either Korean Air or Asiana must come to Bengaluru. I am going to become a promoter of Bengaluru.”

But the ambassador affirmed that the Korean airline companies are still in discussions to decide about the new airports in India that they want to serve, the details of which are yet to be shared. 

From six flights to 19

Currently, there are only six direct flights a week between South Korea and India. The Far East nation’s flag carrier Korean Air flies three days a week into Mumbai, while Asiana flies to Delhi with three flights as well.

“It has been years since we have been engaged in talks to increase air connectivity between our two countries. So far, there have been only six direct flights between us. After I arrived, we held another round of negotiations with Indian government officials in October, and discussed the renewal of the air service agreement. We now plan to take the total number of flights to 19 per week in the near future,” Cho told Deccan Herald.

The ambassador said during the Korea Caravan 2015 — which was attended by Minister Deshpande — that South Korea would be the partner country for Invest Karnataka 2016, scheduled for February.

It must be noted that Bengaluru has a sizeable Korean business presence, with both electronics giants Samsung and LG having campuses here. Incheon International Airport, the primary airport serving the Seoul Capital Area, is one of the largest and busiest airports in the world, and Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport is India’s third-biggest international airport.

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