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    Cheongju International Airport, growing into a global player via intensive diversification efforts
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    “Cheongju International Airport, growing into a global player via intensive diversification efforts"
    - More diverse air connections with major cities in Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and Mongolia -

    The diversification efforts by the Cheongju International Airport started to come to fruition with new international air routes opening one after another. Following the existing connections with the eight cities across China (Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Yanji, Ningbo, Shenyang and Dalian), the airport created this year five new routes to Japan (Osaka, Sapporo and Fukuoka), the USA (Guam) and Taiwan (Taipei), increasing the international air routes by 62.5% in comparison with last year.

    The Cheongju International Airport has redoubled its efforts since last year to diversify its routes to the cities outside China through talks with Korean and overseas airliners and travel agencies across the region.

    The opening of the route connecting Cheongju to Osaka, for example, took several years to be materialized during which the airport administration aggressively explored local online marketing channels and tourism presentations exclusively for Japanese travel agencies. The marketing efforts include the dispatch of the airport's marketing team early this year to Japan to visit the local media, airliners and travel agencies to have one-on-one talks on the issue. At the same time, the airport successfully operated a total of 33 non-scheduled flights to the target cities from July 2017 to February 2018 through close consultation and cooperation with international airliners and travel agencies. The efforts led to the contract by which the Korean airline, Eastar Jet (ESR), started to provide three regular services a week on the Cheongju-Osaka route from March this year. In July, Jeju Air (JJA) started to offer scheduled services to Guam via Osaka on a daily basis.

    The diversification efforts of the Cheongju International Airport led Eastar Jet, following the services to Osaka, to offer two scheduled services a week to Fukuoka and Sapporo from September. The scheduled services to Sapporo became realized thanks to the high seat occupancy rate shown during the non-scheduled services (9 flights in total) offered in July and August 2018. The success in the operation of non-scheduled services to Osaka and Sapporo convinced other airliners of a significant increase in demand for air services to Japan, encouraging them to create scheduled services to other Japanese cities.

    The situation was not very different with the services to Taipei in Taiwan. The seat occupancy rate of about 80% shown for the 44 non-scheduled services early this year led Eastar Jet to two scheduled services a week to the city from September.

    "In addition China and Japan," an official at the Provincial Government of Chungcheongbuk-do commented recently, "we try our utmost to create scheduled air services to the Vietnamese cities of Hanoi, Da Nang and Da Lat which began to attract an increasing number of Korean tourists." He added that the provincial government would closely cooperate with the Cheongju International Airport "to create new international air routes, turning the non-scheduled to scheduled services to Thailand (Bangkok), Mongolia (Ulan Bator), Russia (Vladivostok and Khabarovsk) and Cambodia (Siem Reap)."
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