Korean Air Will Reopen Select Chinese Routes In May

Korean Air has released an updated flight schedule for the coming months. Most flights throughout April are still suspended, but the airline has scheduled more domestic flights for May. It has also scheduled more flights to China throughout May as travel restrictions in Asia loosen. Despite this, the schedule is still likely to change as the global situation develops.

Korean Air Airbus Runway
Korean Air’s schedules for the next month show hope for the Asian market. Photo: Alex Beltyukov via Wikimedia

Korean Air is starting to look to the future. The carrier has released updated schedules for the coming months and is slowly increasing the number of flights it is operating. Although the rest of April is still very limited, the schedule for May is starting to show signs of recovery.


Throughout the rest of April, the airline will still operate several flights to America. That is unless, of course, the US imposes more restrictions. Currently, there are scheduled flights from the airline’s Incheon hub to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Atlanta, and Chicago.

However, the regular frequencies for all these destinations have been dropped. Some flights will only operate three or four times a week such as the flight to Atlanta. Other flights will only operate for a short time. One fight to Chicago is only going to operate three times between the 26th and 30th of the month.

Flights to Paris and London will operate twice a week to each location until the end of the month. All other flights to Europe are completely suspended.

Starting from next week, there will be daily flights to Bangkok from Incheon. The Busan to Bangkok route remains suspended. Flight KE623/624 from Incheon to Manila will continue to operate daily.

Korean Air Incheon
Korean Air will operate most flights from its Incheon hub. Photo: byeangel via Flickr

All flights to Australia are suspended as are most flights to China. However, there will be just one flight a week to Shenyang. There will also be a daily flight to Narita. Almost all other operations are domestic. The airline will still operate many domestic flights including 18 per day between Gimpo and Jeju. However, May will see a whole set of route openings to China.


Where April’s schedule is lacking, May’s schedule looks more positive. The airline is clearly expecting significant changes in travel restrictions by the end of the month. While there are only a few additions to its international operations, routes to China are scheduled with much more frequency.

From the 3rd of May, the airline will operate flights several times per week to Qingdao, Mudanjiang, Yanji, and Guangzhou as well as the flight to Shenyang. There will also be flights to Shanghai and Beijing.

The airline’s domestic network is also set to be considerably more active in May. Apart from suspended routes from Incheon to Busan and Daegu, all other routes will be operational. However, most routes will only be operated once a day. But the busiest route between Gimpo and Jeju will rise to 22 flights per day. Gimpo to Busan will operate 12 times a day.

Korean Air cargo plane
The airline’s domestic network will be almost back to normal in May, albeit with reduced frequency. Photo: Nathan Coates via Flickr

The only European destinations are still London and Paris, served at the same frequency as throughout April. The airline is actually planning fewer flights to America in May than in April. The US is slightly behind the rest of the world in terms of the virus timeline and clearly Korean Air is expecting restrictions to be in place throughout May.


Korean Air’s schedules reflect the slow return to normalcy being experienced across Asia. China has already started opening up travel routes and Korean Air is keen to capitalize on those travelers looking to return home.

There is a sense of optimism with so many routes opening within Korea and to China. However, there is still caution when scheduling flights to the US and Europe. Hopefully, this is the start of the recovery period. But, as the airline points out, the schedules are subject to change at any time.