International "no-destination" flights, or those that fly without stopping and land at their airports of origin, will begin next month at airports in Seoul (Gimpo), Daegu and Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do Province.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on April 18 said it will expand the operation of such flights to the three other airports as offering them at Incheon International Airport. Airlines will prepare their own flight packages, recruit passengers and receive ministry approval for the flights to launch them early next month.
Such a flight has the plane fly in and around the airspace of other countries while not entering or landing on them, and instead lands at the airport of origin. After reentering the country, passengers are exempt from testing for COVID-19 and quarantine and can get duty-free benefits like passengers arriving from abroad.
The ministry said that between their debut on Dec. 12 last year and late last month, a combined 75 such flights carrying some 8,000 passengers by seven air carriers departed and landed at the Incheon airport.
All passengers must be checked at least three times for fever for the flight, and those showing COVID-19 symptoms are prohibited from boarding. Passengers must wear masks at all times both at the airport and on the plane and cannot switch seats, eat or drink during the flight.
Yoon Jin-hwan, the ministry's director-general for aviation policy, said, "We hope the international no-flight destinations alleviate the financial difficulties of related industries and offer a special tourism opportunity to people unable to regularly travel due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic."