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Japan/Korea-Europe airline service: Korea leads Japan, but lacks Russian overflight rights

Korea has less than half of Japan's population, yet Korean Air and Asiana Airlines are twice as large in Europe as All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines.

Despite this leadership position, Korea's airlines want to grow even more in Europe. Asiana is adding scheduled service to Barcelona and Venice in 2018, while Korean Air added Barcelona in 2017. Yet Korea is held back by a lack of Russian overflight rights. While this persists, Korean Air is unlikely to use incremental additions for its long haul LCC, Jin Air, which is otherwise well suited to serve more leisure-oriented European markets.

While Korean airlines are unable to realise full demand for Europe, Seoul is unlikely to grant more traffic rights for Gulf airlines, which mostly carry European connecting passengers on flights to Seoul.

Japan has available overflight rights and a need to grow in Europe in order to meet the country's aggressive tourism targets. Japanese tourism is working with Air France-KLM, but Japanese aviation must do more to expand its footprint in Europe.

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