SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean low cost airline market is bound to change with the emergence of both new and giant low-cost carriers (LCCs).
Air Premia Co. reportedly plans to introduce Boeing 787-9 aircraft next month and receive an air operator certificate (AOC) from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
While some expect a delay in gaining approval for flight routes by March since the coronavirus is pushing back plans for introducing new aircraft, the chances of cancelling operation licenses are low.
The government, in consideration of the pandemic, is expected to allow extended probation instead of cancelling licenses.
Air Premia may be able to begin operation in March as the carrier’s AOC process is being finalized.
Aero K Airlines Co. acquired AOC last month and aims to announce its first flight next month at the earliest. The government has received a flight request from Aero K, which is currently being reviewed.
South Korea’s biggest carrier Korean Air Lines Co.’s planned acquisition of the debt-laden Asiana Airlines Inc. will lead to the integration of multiple LCCs including Jin Air Co., Air Busan Co., and Air Seoul Inc., which is also expected to impact the LCC market.
The combined market share of the three three aforementioned LCCs is 44 percent, surpassing that of Jeju Air, currently the market’s biggest player.
The ongoing pandemic stands as a primary risk for LCC restructuring. If the pandemic continues to drag on, the new LCCs may fall apart without ever taking flight.
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)