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S. Korea, 22 EU nations sign pact to expand air routes

All News 17:30 June 25, 2020

SEOUL, June 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and 22 European countries have signed a "horizontal aviation agreement" to expand their air routes, the transport and foreign ministries said Thursday.

Yoon Soon-gu, South Korean ambassador to Belgium and the European Union (EU), and his counterpart from the EU signed a revised horizontal aviation pact with the 22 EU nations after Britain left the economic bloc in January, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"In 2018, South Korea originally signed the agreement with 23 EU nations, including Britain. Britain's exit from the world's single largest economic bloc led to the revision in the pact. The horizontal agreement allows all airlines of the 22 nations to serve flights from any of the countries to South Korea, providing customers more options to choose from," a foreign ministry official said by phone.

Seoul's bilateral aviation agreement with Britain remains effective, she said.

Currently, air carriers are allowed to fly to South Korea from the countries to which they belong. For example, Deutsche Lufthansa AG is required to take off from Germany, not other countries, to reach South Korea, the official said.

Under the agreement, the government also aims to expand air routes with the EU while seeking technological exchanges in helicopter production, and aircraft parts cross-certification, the official said.

The EU has 27 member nations following Britain's exit from the economic bloc. Five countries -- Ireland, Cyprus, Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia -- have yet to sign aviation agreements with South Korea.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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