A new airline will take to the skies in South Korea next year.
KAIR Airlines will be based in Cheongju, the capital of North Chungcheong province in central South Korea, and will focus primarily on services to international destinations in Northeast Asia. It will be low-cost carrier.
To launch its operations, KAIR Airlines has placed a firm order with Airbus for eight single-aisle A320 aircraft, which are expected to be configured with an all-economy class layout.
“We see enormous potential for the development of a low-cost model linking central South Korea with destinations in China, Taiwan and Japan,” said Byung Ho Kang, KAIR Airlines’ representative director & chairman. “KAIR Airlines will focus on point-to-point services at low fares while offering passengers a modern and fun product offering.”
“Brand new A320 aircraft will be perfect for our business model and customers, combining the lowest operating costs with the widest cabin in the single aisle segment,” he added.
KAIR Airlines will join a series of other low-cost carriers in South Korea, including Eastar Jet, Jeju Air, Jin Air and T’way Airlines.
The plan of serving North Asian routes is being driven by a sharp rise in short-haul regional tourism; for example, South Korea experienced a 47% surge in arrivals from China in 2016, and a 13% increase in visitor numbers from Japan. Combined, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan accounted for 66% of South Korea’s total 17.2 million visitor arrivals last year. The number of South Koreans travelling overseas is also rising sharply.
Following the aircraft order, John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer commented; “We have been impressed by the business model developed by KAIR Airlines. We are confident that the efficiencies offered by the A320 will contribute to a successful launch by KAIR Airlines, bringing more choice for passengers flying in the Northeast Asian region.”