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Eastar to resume flights this month with AOC approval

All News 11:30 February 28, 2023

SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Yonhap) -- Eastar Jet Co., a South Korean low-cost carrier (LLC), said Tuesday it will resume flights later this month as it has received an air operator certificate (AOC) from the transport ministry.

Eastar, a China-focused carrier, has suspended most of its flights on domestic and international routes since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its AOC became ineffective in May that year.

The budget carrier plans to resume services, starting with flights on the Gimpo-Jeju route later this month, the company said in a statement.

The carrier currently has three B737-800 chartered planes, sharply down from 23 aircraft before the pandemic hit the airline industry three years ago.

The 23 planes served a total of 38 domestic and international routes before the pandemic.

Eastar applied for court receivership in January 2021 as it had failed to find a strategic investor since July 2020, when Jeju Air Co., the country's biggest budget carrier, scrapped its plan to acquire Eastar amid the pandemic.

In November 2021, local property developer Sung Jung Co. acquired the entire stake in Eastar through a rights issue following the carrier's overall stock cancellation worth 48.5 billion won (US$40 million). Sung Jung injected 112 billion won into Eastar.

In January this year, Sung Jung handed over its stake in Eastar to VIG Partners and the local private equity fund injected 110 billion won into the carrier.

South Korea has two full-service carriers -- Korean Air and Asiana Airlines -- and 10 LCCs -- Jeju Air, Jin Air Co., Air Busan Co., T'way Air, Air Seoul Inc., Eastar Jet, 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 file photo offered by Eastar Jet shows a B787-800 passenger jet. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

This file photo offered by Eastar Jet shows a B787-800 passenger jet. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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