Jetstar suspends flights to South Korea

Jetstar suspends flights to South Korea

The novel coronavirus Covid-19 continues to derail travel plans after Jetstar announced last night it would be temporarily suspending a new direct flight service linking the Gold Coast with the Korean capital Seoul.

The low-cost service was announced in May last year and flights began in December, but it will now be put on hold from 8 March until at least 30 June.

"We've made this decision in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Australian Government's recent travel advice for South Korea and the subsequent drop in demand," the airline said.

"Customers will be offered a range of options including the option to defer their travel dates until March 2021 or a refund if they no longer wish to travel."

In an email, customers who had booked flights during the affected period were also offered flight changes to dates departing and arriving before 8 March, or vouchers to the full value of their bookings.

"Customers who have commenced their outward journey at the time of suspension are asked to contact our customer team to discuss options for a return flight home," the company said.

"Customers booked under a Jeju Air flight number should contact Jeju Air or their travel agent."

The new route was announced in May last year as an effort to emulate the success of Japan-Australia flights.

"We know from experience that low cost flights have a strong influence on setting tourism trends, which we've seen in markets like Japan where the number of Australian visitors has doubled since we first launched flights in 2007," Jetstar Group CEO Gareth Evans said at the time.

"Research shows that South Korean travellers consistently rank Australia as the top destination they want to visit, but they were unlikely to travel without low-cost direct flights.

"South Koreans already travel more frequently than any other nationality in the Asia Pacific, so there's no doubt they will take advantage of these new direct flights to Australia."

Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported 256 additional cases of Covid-19 this morning, taking the total number of infected people to 2,022.

There have now been 13 deaths in the country, with the majority of cases centred around the city of Daegu. 

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