Korean Air launches direct ICN-BUD cargo flight

Korean Air launched a direct 777F flight between Seoul (ICN) and Budapest (BUD) today, the first direct cargo flight between the two cities. The route aims to provide opportunities for Korean and Hungarian companies with cross-border trade, according to a press release issued by BUD, and will support BUD’s recent efforts to become a regional cargo hub.

The flight is part of a twice weekly route; aircraft will fly from ICN to BUD before continuing on to Frankfurt (FRA) and back to ICN. The carrier also plans to launch a passenger flights three times per week between ICN and BUD for its summer schedule, beginning May 23.

The news comes at a time when relations between Hungary and South Korea are warming, and trade growth between them is being promoted.

“South Korea became the largest investor in Hungary [last year], implementing projects to a value of 2.5 billion [Hungarian forints], which is nearly half of the total investment portfolio,” said Levente Magyar, deputy minister at Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Trade between the two nations also increased by one-third in 2019, compared with the previous year, the deputy minister said.

Multiple South Korean factories — including Samsung Electronics and Samsung SDI, Hanon Systems, SK Innovation and Doosan — are located within a ground transport distance of one to two hours from BUD’s Cargo City, which opened in January, according to the release. The new flight is intended to support transport options for these businesses’ shipments to Hungary, as well as from small and medium-sized Hungarian enterprises to Korea.

Ultimately, the direct connection is “not only a huge advantage for Hungarian and international companies, but also an opportunity for Hungary and the Hungarian capital airport to become the number one cargo hub in the region,” said BUD CEO Rolf Schnitzler.

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