LOT Polish Airlines launched its direct air passenger service between Budapest and Seoul on Sunday. The Polish airline’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner took off from Liszt Ferenc International Airport in the early afternoon and is expected to arrive in Seoul after a flight time of 10 hours, 30 minutes.

At the press conference prior to the plane taking off, CEO of LOT Rafal Milczarski told reporters that this is the first time that the airline in launching an air passenger service in an easterly direction from Budapest, which proved to be extremely difficult and required the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The transport link with Seoul is not only important to economic relations but also to cultural ones.

In his speech, CEO of Budapest Airport Rolf Schnitzler stressed that thanks to route development LOT has doubled its annual traffic at the airport to over 400 thousand, and will soon be the largest network airline operating at Budapest Airport. “80 thousand passengers-a-year are registered between the two countries, meaning the launching of a direct air passenger route was justified”, he added.

At the press conference, Parliamentary State Secretary Levente Magyar from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the new air passenger route could not have been launched without the cooperation of three friendly countries. “Based on the age-old friendship between Hungary and Poland, LOT Polish Airlines has undertaken to fill the role of Hungarian national airline, and it also required our close relationship with the Korean government”, he explained, adding that the two countries established diplomatic relations 30 years ago, and a direct air passenger service had been a missing element of relations to date.

Deputy CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Agency Anna Németh told reporters that 2018 had been a record year for Hungarian tourism, and the launching of the new air passenger service will contribute to the setting of a new record this year. Ms. Németh added that she trusts that LOT will further expand its selection of available flights between Budapest and Seoul. This is the first time ever that a direct air passenger service has connected the Hungarian and South Korean capitals.