BOSTON –Korean Air and the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today announced new nonstop service from Seoul, Republic of Korea (known as South Korea) to Boston, to begin in the spring of 2019. Korean Air is the flag carrier of South Korea and the country’s largest airline based on fleet size, international destinations and international flights. The target date of spring 2019 is consistent with the airline’s expectation of receiving the necessary approvals. Seoul will be the 5 th nonstop destination to Asia from Boston Logan International Airport joining Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. Today, Logan Airport serves 75 domestic and 55 international nonstop destinations.
The capital of South Korea, Seoul, is one of the most populated cities in the world with more than 10 million residents. More than 24,000 individuals of Korean descent live in Massachusetts, including nearly 5,000 in Boston.
“The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to supporting access to economic development and growth across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This new nonstop flight to Seoul will continue to strengthen Massachusetts’ international community and promote additional opportunities for residents, employers and visitors.”
Korean Air will operate five days a week on a Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner, carrying nearly 270 passengers. Service is expected to begin between Logan (BOS) and Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN) next spring. Seoul Incheon has been named one of the best airports in the world numerous times since 2000, most recently ranked 2
nd by Skytrax.
“As the City of Boston becomes an increasingly large presence in the global economy, international connections and partners are vital to our success,” said John F. Barros, Chief of Economic Development, City of Boston. “Commitments like these continue to bolster Boston's tourism and business communities. We are pleased to have Korean Air choose Boston, and look forward to the positive impact this new service will have for our residents, visitors, and business community.”
South Korea’s economy is ranked the 11
th largest in the world and 4 th largest in Asia. The country is also home to the headquarters of 15 Fortune 500 companies such as Samsung, LG Electronics, Hyundai and Kia, representing two of South Korea’s important exports: technology and automobiles.
“As a major gateway for high tech industries, Boston is the most popular unserved point from Korea with rapidly growing demand to Asia,” said John Jackson, Korean Air’s managing vice president. “The city, with its numerous universities and colleges, is a growing New England hub attracting companies in fast-growing industries like IT, bio-technology, healthcare, finance and pharmaceuticals.”
Korean Air owns 173 aircraft and operates scheduled flights to 123 cities in 43 countries worldwide. Korean Air is a founding member airline of SkyTeam, the global airline alliance formed in 2000. The alliance currently consists of 20 member airlines flying to 1,074 destinations in over 177 countries worldwide with 16,600 flights every day. Korean Air previously served Logan back in the 1990s, though it was not nonstop.
“Starting a nonstop service to South Korea is terrific and kudos to Massport. Connecting Boston with more international destinations increases opportunities for our talented workforce and helps make the Commonwealth more attractive for a variety of industries,” said James Rooney, President and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
“Nonstop air service is key to making Massachusetts competitive in the world marketplace,” said Dan O’Connell, President and CEO of MA Competitive Partnership. “Connecting the Commonwealth with major international economies has great benefits.”
Besides business travel, Seoul has a lot to offer in terms of tourism. Seoul is the 7
th most visited cities in the world with over 12 million international visitors a year. Shopping and dining are two of Seoul’s most prominent features and the city is home to many palaces, temples and museums. One of Seoul’s most renowned historical attractions and most visited sites is the Gyeongbukgung Palace, the most beautiful and grandest of the five palaces built by the Joseon dynasty.
“This is terrific news for Boston’s visitor industry,” said Pat Moscaritolo, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. “South Korea is a top ten overseas source market for Boston, sending nearly 70,000 annual visitors to our city, and Korean Air directly services dozens of cities across China and Japan, which means Seoul is poised to become a major feeder city for Boston.”
Sustaining Massachusetts’ competitive edge in international travel is critical to the state’s highly travel-dependent and diversified economy; spread across sectors such as biotechnology, healthcare, education, and medical scientific research. Massport has worked to increase the number of options for international nonstop flights that help make Boston more attractive to foreign companies looking at U.S. facilities in the Commonwealth.
“Seoul will be our first nonstop service to South Korea and connecting New England with the global economy is a key part of Massport’s mission,” said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. “Offering nonstop service to South Korea, one of the world’s largest economies, has been a priority and we are happy that it has come to fruition. We welcome Korean Air to Logan and look forward to connecting not only our economies, but students, families and tourism as well.”
International passengers fly through Logan’s newly renovated Terminal E. In 2016, the Terminal E Renovation and Enhancements project was completed improving the customer experience throughout the terminal. The project added 95,000 square feet of space and renovated three existing gates, including adding the required services to accommodate larger aircraft. The project was designed to make Terminal E a true international gateway to Massachusetts and New England.