Marseille Secures Charter Link to South Korea

Marseille Provence Airport will celebrate hosting this year’s Routes Europe forum in early April 2014 by welcoming its first flights from South Korea.  It has agreed terms with The Hanjin Travel Group and its South Korean tour operator subsidiary, Kaltour, to introduce holiday packages in the South of France this spring.  

Three direct leisure flights, the first into France, will operate from Seoul from April and bring almost 1,000 South Korean tourists for one-week trips to Marseille and the South of France.  Up until now, the only links from South Korea to Europe have been scheduled flights to major capitals by Asiana Airlines and Korean Air and leisure flights to Oslo in Norway and Zagreb in Croatia.

This represents a major deal for Marseille Provence and reinforces its business opportunities following the successful launch of transatlantic flights by XL Airways France last year to New York.  The airport has also been buoyed by the news that Canadian leisure carrier Air Transat will complement its existing flights to Marseille from Montreal with a link from Toronto during the coming year.

"This is a major development for the airport. It opens up whole new perspectives for us. These first leisure flights from Asia are very promising and may constitute a powerful traffic development lever in future years. More and more tourists from emerging classes in Asia will want to discover the charms of the South of France, and Marseille-Provence is the perfect gateway for such trips,” said Jean-François Brando, president, mp Airport.

Marseille's Tourism and Congress Board has been informally working to develop the link with South Korea for over five years, completing numerous meetings in the country and hosting educationals with tourism partners.  According to Dominique Vlasto, Euro-MP and Marseille City Councillor for Tourism, the confirmation of the Asian link lends weight to its ambition of establishing Marseille as a major Mediterranean tourist destination.  “It is also further proof of the results a destination can achieve when it succeeds in selling itself in a coordinated manner,” she added.

Korea's economy is one of the most dynamic in the Asia region and this route, albeit just three charter rotations will translate into an increasing number of Korean tourists in coming years with tourism specialists suggesting the programme which includes stops in Aix-en- Provence, Arles, Gordes, Avignon, Cannes, Nice and Carcassonne, could be extended in future years.

“Today, France is the country that Koreans dream of visiting most,” added Frédéric Tambon, director of the French tourism development agency, Atout France, in Korea.  “The reputation of Provence has grown considerably in Korea over recent years.  The increase in single destination circuits in the region, such as this one, is the reward for all of the effort that has been made.”

After an increase of one million passengers in 2012 (the 4th biggest increase among European airports according to ACI Europe's ratings), Marseille Provence Airport continued its growth in 2013 with traffic (excluding transit passengers) up 0.5 per cent to almost 8.3 million passengers.  Although overall levels were stable, international traffic increased and now accounts for 56 per cent of total passengers.  The introduction of a direct service to New York in summer 2013 and growth from Turkish Airlines and British Airways are credited for this change.

The figures would suggest that a host of promotional initiatives showcasing the new Marseille and Marseille Provence European Capital of Culture 2013 events in France and abroad by the airport and its tourism partners (Marseille's Tourism and Congress Board, Bouches-du- Rhône Tourisme, the PACA Regional Tourism Board and mp2013) were successful.

“Without Capital of Culture Year and the related rave reviews in the international press, a large number of tourists arriving by air would not have come to Marseille,” said the airport in its end of year review.  A number of infrastructure projects are now underway to ensure capacity at mp Airport can meet with additional demand.  A major €30 million investment programme to improve the customer experience will see a changing to the flooring in the landside zone in Hall1, the creation of new aircraft parking bays and the extension of terminal mp2 (improving security checkpoints and shops).

Alongside the new Korean charter flights and previously mentioned Air Transat service, mp Airport will welcome at least 18 additional weekly services in 2014 with Aegean Airlines serving Athens and Heraklion, Ryanair flying to Bordeaux and Catania, Vueling to Palma de Mallorca and the newly launched Etihad Regional operation of Darwin Airline to Geneva.

In the table below we highlight the largest airlines and international destinations from mp Airport in 2013.

Passenger Demand from Marseille Provence Airport (2013)

Top Airlines at mp Airport

Top Destinations from mp Airport

Rank

Airline

Passengers

% Change

Rank

Destination

Passengers

% Change

1

Air France

3,106,909

(-3) %

1

London

428,428

12 %

2

Ryanair

1,650,110

6 %

2

Algiers

278,183

13 %

3

Air Corsica

647,530

-

3

Amsterdam

234,986

12 %

4

Air Algerie

373,015

20 %

4

Munich

211,523

7 %

5

Lufthansa

349,068

(-5) %

5

Brussels

206,577

5 %

6

Aigle Azur

258,837

7 %

6

Marrakech

195,457

(-6) %

7

British Airways

232,679

15 %

7

Tunis

184,968

(-8) %

8

Tunisair

181,506

(-4) %

8

Rome

182,249

13 %

9

Royal Air Maroc

159,346

(-7) %

9

Madrid

167,794

(-12) %

10

easyJet

148,345

+17 %

10

Casablanca

140,445

(-18) %


You can find out more about the Routes Europe forum, which will take place in Marseille on April 6-8, 2014 here.


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