November 24, 2017 / 4:31 AM / 21 days ago

South Korea's Jin Air sees China demand rebounding after missile row from January

SEOUL (Reuters) - The chief executive of South Korean low-cost carrier Jin Air Co Ltd said on Friday he expects Chinese travel demand to recover from January following a year-long diplomatic row.

Choi Jung-ho also told Reuters that Jin Air has received a number of requests from Chinese tour agencies for charter flights, which he expects to resume early next year.

Chinese group tours have been unavailable since March 15, in the wake of a decision by the Seoul government to deploy an anti-missile system to which its Beijing counterpart objected.

South Korean airlines’ applications to conduct charter flights from China have also been rejected since January.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will hold a summit with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping next month after the two countries agreed to mend ties in October.

“A recovery in China demand will materialize in January, and we expect a meaningful recovery in February,” Jin Air CEO Choi said at a media briefing ahead of the airline’s initial public offering, referring to a boost expected from the Lunar New Year holidays which will land in February.

He also said Japanese tour demand, which has fallen in part due to increased nuclear threats from North Korea this year, is likely to bounce back next year.

Jin Air, an affiliate of South Korea’s biggest carrier, Korean Air Lines Co Ltd, plans to raise as much as 381.6 billion won ($341.53 million) in its IPO planned for next month.

Reporting by Hyunjoo JinEditing by Christopher Cushing

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