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Jeju Air joins rivals' push for plane conversion for cargo

All News 14:33 October 22, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 22 (Yonhap) -- Jeju Air Co., South Korea's biggest low-cost carrier, said Thursday it will carry cargo using a passenger jet to offset a sharp decline in air travel demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Jeju Air plans to deploy a B737-800 passenger jet to deliver cargo from Incheon to Bangkok from late Thursday, the company said in a statement.

"The company is considering expanding cargo delivery using passenger jets to other countries depending on market conditions," the statement said.

This file photo taken on Oct. 22, 2020, and provided by Jeju Air shows the carrier's employees loading cargo on the seats of a B737-800 passenger jet on the Incheon-Bangkok route at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, just west of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Budget carriers began to join full-service carriers to convert passenger jets into cargo planes or increase cargo deliveries to offset a sharp decline in travel demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jin Air Co., a budget carrier unit of Korean Air Lines Co., plans to deploy a B777-200ER jet, which has been recently converted into a cargo plane, on routes from Incheon to Bangkok and Qingdao from Saturday.

T'way Air said it will begin using two of its 27 B737-800 passenger jets to carry cargo on the Incheon-Ho Chi Minh City route in early November.

Korean Air and Asiana Airlines Inc., the country's two full-service carriers, have already converted some of their passenger jets into cargo planes to absorb rising cargo demand.

Jeju Air, which operates 44 B737-800 passenger jets, shifted to a net loss of 202 billion won (US$178 million) in the January-June period from a net profit of 12.6 billion won a year earlier.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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