Gatwick sustains passenger figures with help of new airlines

Gatwick Airport in the UK has managed to sustain its 2012/13 passenger figures slightly ahead of last year thanks to new carriers that have opened services to the airport.

The airport had lost routes from its previous carriers but still achieved an increase of 400,000 passengers or 1.2 percent on the previous year, for a total footfall of 34.2 million. Ryanair’s Irish routes and Korean Air’s Seoul service were among Gatwick’s larger casualties, but new business from Air China, Iraqi Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Vueling, Gambia Bird and Icelandair more than filled the gap. In addition, Easyjet added a Moscow service, Norwegian Air Shuttle added 12 new routes and British Airways added new services to Europe and the Caribbean.

Stewart Wingate, chief executive at Gatwick, said, ‘Today, passengers can fly direct to Beijing, Istanbul, Moscow and Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam from Gatwick. This is important in the context of ensuring the UK has the international connectivity it needs to remain globally competitive. We will continue into this next financial year with the same drive and focus to create a world-class airport.’

The airport is currently undergoing a £1.2 billion upgrade, some of which has been spent on remodelling the South Terminal departures area that will reopen this summer. It is now also capable of accommodating the new giant Airbus A380 aircraft, following the completion of a new pier that received a test flight just a few days ago. Gatwicks owner, Global Infrastructure Partners, will now be keen to secure regular traffic for that investment, which could dramatically increase passenger figures without impinging greatly on the airport’s flight capacity.

British Airways Announces New Service to South Korea from UK

British Airways, a UK-based airline company, has announced new services to Seoul, in South Korea, after a gap of 14 years.

The airline is offering six times weekly flights from London Heathrow Airport in UK, to Incheon International Airport in South Korea, with the services scheduled to commence from December 2, 2012, operating a Boeing 777 aircraft. The airline is also offering flights to Seoul from Manchester Airport, Glasgow Airport and Newcastle Airport in the UK.

The flights will be offering four classes of travel (World Traveller, Traveller Plus, Club World and First Class), with return airfares from Heathrow commencing at £798 for a World Traveller seat, and going up to £5,775 for a First Class seat. From Manchester Airport, return fares commence from £799; from Glasgow prices start from £798; and from Newcastle return fares are from £797.

Drew Crawley, the airline commercial director, said, ‘We have seen significant growth in customers wanting to travel to Seoul for both business and pleasure. It is a vibrant city with a strong economic base, rated eighth in the Global Cities Index this year.

Equally, there are vast numbers of South Korean companies wishing to come to the UK to do business as Asia’s economies continue to grow. We want to ensure that we do our bit in bringing as much business and tourism to the UK as we can.’

The airline is planning to use its slots at Heathrow Airport for the new service, acquired along with its acquisition of bmi.

Travel advice: Heavy rains cause floods in Korea

We have received reports of heavy rains, floods and landslides affecting parts of the Korean peninsula

With more rain forecast in the coming days, flooding has restricted access to some highways and the transport infrastructure.

British nationals are advised to exercise caution when travelling outside, to comply with the instructions of the local authorities and to check news updates regularly.

The British Embassy in Seoul is currently operating a limited consular and business service. We ask that customers without an urgent need for consular assistance to please avoid coming to the Embassy before Monday August 1.

Korea has honeymoon appeal

There are many places in the world that can be referred to as hot honeymoon destinations, and the Seychelles is definitely courting the top of such a list.

More and more, especially since newlyweds Prince William and Catherine jetted to the islands for their honeymoon, Seychelles is in the limelight for honeymoon travel.

Such a trend is building up in Korea which is one of the strongest secondary markets for Seychelles.

The Koreans view the islands as not only the place to unwind while being surrounded by glistening waters, tropical palms, and beautiful sandy beaches, but it is one which will leave lasting memories.

At the Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA) held in Seoul last month, Seychelles could have been the most exciting destination of the show, as its romance appeal attracted a lot of visitors to the stand.

The Seychelles Tourist Office in South Korea confirmed that the awareness and popularity of the destination keeps increasing on that market, as more people show interest.

The Seychelles stand was highly appreciated at KOTFA, as it showed the enviable beauty of the islands, as well as a replica of the Seychelles giant tortoise. The latter created a stir, as did the coco-de-mer nut, which Seychelles promoted as the fruit of Eve, which brings luck when you touch.

Seychelles also hosted a “Seychelles Survival Quiz” where five “survivors” were rewarded each day of the show.

Besides their presence at the show, the tourist office in Korea also ran a busy program of PR events and trade promotions for the trade and media, in a bid to further expose the destination and create awareness among the people who sell it.

To further confirm Seychelles’ successful presence at the show, the destination won the Best Booth Design Award for the second year in a row.

The office said after the trade fair that KOTFA has helped immensely to promote the destination to the Korean mass market and that Seychelles should participate every year until such time that it is satisfied that the islands are well-established in that market and the numbers are showing even healthier growth.