Nearly 100 passengers board the ‘Jin Air Flight to Nowhere – Kota Kinabalu’

by BERNAMA / pic credit:

SEOUL – A total of 96 passengers boarded the ‘flight to nowhere’, flying from South Korea’s Incheon International Airport, to experience Malaysia’s Kota Kinabalu-themed sightseeing flight.

Tourism Malaysia in a statement said Flight to Nowhere, also known as scenic flights or sightseeing flights, offers the airport and airline processes experience, but instead of arriving at a new destination, passengers will arrive at the same airport they departed from.

In support of the local aviation industry and duty-free sectors in South Korea that were affected by the global pandemic, the South Korean Government has extended its permission for its local-based airlines to operate the ‘Flights to Nowhere’ programme.

“Jin Air has taken this opportunity to operate the flights and Sabah has been selected as the fourth international destination after Hong Kong, Osaka, and Okinawa,” it said.

With the support from Sabah Tourism Board and assistance from Tourism Malaysia, the flight departed at 12.40 pm on July 25 from Incheon International Airport.

“The flight route took the passengers low-flying over Daegu, Busan, and partially the Japanese airspace. It then completed the journey by arriving at the same place it took off from at 2.30 pm,” the statement said.

The Kota Kinabalu-themed sightseeing flight has attracted South Koreans’ attention with its variety of benefits and special inflight activities including duty-free services offered by major duty-free shops in South Korea namely Shilla, Lotte, and Shinsegae.

Tourism Malaysia said the cabin crew also prepared additional entertainment such as quizzes and lucky draws to keep the flight interesting.

Round-trip tickets (Incheon-Kota Kinabalu) sponsored by Jin Air, as well as hotels and sunset cruise vouchers sponsored by the Sabah Tourism Board were offered as prizes to the passengers onboard.

Tourism Malaysia Seoul Office Director Shaharuddin Yahya said given its success on the first Flight to Nowhere project, Sabah Tourism Board together with the Tourism Malaysia Seoul Office were planning to continue this activity with other airlines including Air Busan and Jeju Air with an increased number of flights in August 2021.

“People clearly miss the experience of flying. These experiences will surely offer opportunities for them to remember Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia as a top-of-the-mind tourist destination,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sabah Tourism Board General Manager Noredah Othman said Flight to Nowhere is the closest thing to travel abroad and it accommodates travel-starved travellers.

“We welcome Koreans to visit us again once the international travel borders reopen,” she added.

Sabah has been one of the top holiday destinations in Southeast Asia among the South Koreans prior to the outbreak. Nearly 400,000 South Koreans were recorded visiting Sabah in 2019 with 67 direct flights departing from Incheon, Busan, and Muan to Kota Kinabalu.