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Civil aircraft registered in S. Korea jumps in 2015

All News 11:00 January 26, 2016

SEJONG, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) -- The number of civilian aircraft registered in South Korea soared 10.5 percent on-year in 2015 as airlines increased their fleets to better meet consumer demand, the transportation ministry said Tuesday.

As of the end of last year, the country had 724 registered civilian planes, compared with 655 a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

Last year marked the first time ever that civilian airplane numbers topped the 700 mark, with the growth being the sharpest reached in the last five years.

Some 87 planes were newly registered last year, with 18 being taken off the official list, as owners sold off or returned leased planes.

Of the total, there was a 28 plane increase for local passenger airlines, with aircraft registered to public agencies rising by 27. There were also gains for small-time transportation firms and those engaged in the aerospace fields.

Authorities said that leasing aircraft from the country's low-cost carriers (LCCs) contributed to the spike. Many local budget carriers that started off with just a handful of aircraft have expanded their fleet sizes in recent years.

Jeju Air, the country's No. 1 LCC, has 22 planes as of Dec. 31, 2015, while Jin Air, owned by Korean Air Lines Co., the country's top flag carrier, has 19 planes.

Full-service airlines such as Korean Air and Asiana Airlines also had 159 and 84 planes each at the end of last year.

The ministry, meanwhile, said that local operators have been urged to lower the average age of planes in service to enhance flight safety.

Korean Air and Asiana have relatively young fleets, with the average age of planes standing at 9.43 years and 10.11 years. On the other hand, numbers for LCCs Air Busan and Eastar Jets stand at 14.49 years and 13.93 years each.

Authorities said that with rise in air traffic demand, the total number of civilian planes registered in the country should exceed the 1,000 mark by 2019. It said with a steady increase in numbers, the government will tighten monitoring of safety rules and maintenance checks to prevent accidents from occurring.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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