THE WHAT? Almost 16,000 passengers have boarded 152 flights ‘to nowhere’ in order to indulge in a tax free shopping spree, according to a report published by The Korea Herald quoting data from the Korea Customs Service.
THE DETAILS Seven Korean airlines are offering the special flights, which take off and land in Korea but enter overseas airspace without landing in order to take advantage of a duty-free loophole.
The average occupancy of the flights is 73.5 percent, per The Korea Herald, some three times higher than the average rate for international flights under ordinary circumstances. Passengers on these shuttles have spent some KRW22.8 billion over a six-month period, spending KRW1.42 million per head, on average.
Sales of cosmetics hit KRW6.1 billion, while bags to the tune of KRW4 billion were rung through and fragrance sales reached KRW2.5 billion.
THE WHY? The Korea Customs Service told The Korea Herald that it is ‘actively supporting the airline and duty-free industries to overcome the pandemic-related slump by providing international sightseeing flights with quick customs clearance’.