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(LEAD) S. Korea's 10th budget carrier begins services

All News 11:36 August 11, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with details in paras 4-5; CHANGES photo, headline)

SEOUL, Aug. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's 10th budget carrier Air Premia Co. on Wednesday began services on the Gimpo-Jeju route to meet local travel demand amid the extended COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport issued an air operator certificate to Air Premia to allow the carrier to use aircraft for commercial purposes.

On Wednesday, Air Premia started daily flights connecting Gimpo to the country's southern resort island of Jeju with the 309-seat B787-9 passenger jet, the company said in a statement.

"We are planning to offer flights on routes to Southeast Asia as early as November and the United States in the second quarter of next year, depending on the pandemic conditions," Air Premia Chief Executive Peter Sim said in an online press conference.

The company said it will lease two additional B787-9 jets by early next year and will focus on mid- and long-haul routes.

South Korea has two full-service carriers -- Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc. -- and 10 low-cost carriers -- Jeju Air, Jin Air, Air Busan Co., Air Seoul Inc., Eastar Jet, T'way, Fly Gangwon, Air Premia, Aero K Airlines Co. and Air Incheon Co.

Air Incheon is a cargo-focused carrier, and the nine other low-cost ones are passenger carriers.

This photo taken on Aug. 11, 2021, and provide by Air Premia shows the company's CEO Peter Sim answering questions from reporters during an online press conference. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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