Asiana Airlines Inc., South Korea's No. 2 flag carrier, said Thursday that it will begin to cut the number of flights to two Japanese cities next month as a weaker yen takes its toll on the airline business.
The carrier said it will cut its number of weekly flights to four from the current seven on the Incheon-Sendai route in early next month.
Sendai is one of the places hit hardest by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Asiana, however, said the planned cut has nothing do with Japan's radiation leak.
Asiana also said it will begin to slash its number of weekly flights to five from the current seven on the Incheon-Shizuoka in October.
The planned move comes as the number of Japanese tourists visiting South Korea slumped by 16.8 percent in the past two months amid the yen's decline.
The South Korean won rose 8.5 percent against the Japanese yen in the first three eight months of this year, a development that makes trips to South Korea more expensive for Japanese tourists.
Asiana said it carried a total of 321,783 passengers from Japan in July and August, compared with 375,874 passengers from the same period last year.
Still, the carrier said outbound traffic to Japan edged up 2.4 percent on-year to 204,700.
Currently, Asiana operates flights between Korea and 21 destinations in Japan, including Tokyo and Osaka. It said Japanese routes accounted for 14.4 percent of its passenger revenue between April and June, down 4.3 percentage points from the same period a year earlier.
Meanwhile, the carrier has paid US$10,000 each in compensation to some of the 288 surviving passengers aboard its flight that cashed in San Francisco on July 6.
Still, Asiana declined to give details on how many passengers received the compensation. The accident killed three passengers and injured about 180 others.
Separately, Jeju Air Co., South Korea's largest budget carrier, said beginning Oct. 27 it will increase the number of its daily flights linking Incheon to the southern Japanese city of Fukuoka to two from the current one flight.