On April 20, 2017, a number of guests gathered at the residence of Ambassador and Mrs. Gonzalo Ortiz of Spain in Seoul on the occasion of the awarding of the decoration of the Order of Isabella the Catholic by King Felipe VI of Spain to Vice President Chi Chang-Hoon of Korean Airlines and former President Lee Kihwa of the SK Lubricants. The two awardees were recognized for their efforts in promoting relations between Spain and Korea.
SK Lubricants partnered with Spain’s largest oil and gas company, Repsol, in 2014 to build the largest lube base oil plant in Cartagena.
President Lee Kihwa, a great admirer of Spain, has been a great influence to the successful projects of cooperation SK is developing between Spain and Korea.
Now, Korean Airlines has direct flights from Incheon to Madrid twice a week, which has played a crucial role in increasing Korean tourism to Spain in recent years. Ten years ago, 30,000 Koreans visited Spain but those numbers have rapidly increased, and last year it surpassed 350.000.
In addition, next week on April 28, Korean Airlines will inaugurate another direct flight route of Incheon to Barcelona.
Thanks to President Chi’s visionary efforts our two countries are closer than ever, and today many Koreans have a good knowledge of Spain. Thus, the government of Spain wished to highlight Korean Airlines’ role in the tourism relations “people to people” between our nations.