Air Philip sets off later this month as the eighth member in the crowded low-cost-carrier market in Korea with focus to connect the southern city of Gwangju with other parts of the country and neighboring offshore cities.
The first LCC home-grown from the relatively underdeveloped Jeolla Province will fly regularly to and from Gwangju and Gimpo Airport in Seoul from June 30 three times a day. Tickets will be offered from 70,000 won ($63.11) to 130,000 won.
The company, owned by Philip Asset based in Jeolla, won air operator certificate (AOC) from the local air traffic authorities in 2017 after it obtained small jet operator Blue Air in 2016.
It currently has one ERJ-145 aircraft with 50 seats developed by Brazil`s aerospace conglomerate Embraer and plans to add two more planes each in July and August.
The country’s LCC market has rapidly grown in recent years. Six budget carriers earned more than the country’s largest full-service carrier Korean Air Lines in the first three months of this year. Their combined operating profit more than doubled to 186.1 billion won from a year ago. Air Pohang started servicing flights in February.
Following the launch of the Gwangju-Gimpo route, Air Philip plans to add regular flights to other major cities in the country such as Incheon, Gimhae, Ulsan, Heuksan Island and Ulleung Island. It will first launch the Gwangju-Incheon and Muan-Incheon routes once it secures landing slots at Incheon International Airport.
Gwangju-Gimhae and Gwangju-Ulsan routes will also be added later, according to the company. It is also seeking to carry its passengers to foreign countries to meet the increasing demand for budget travel to overseas.
Flights to Japan will be serviced from the end of this year, and more destinations in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Vietnam, Vladivostok, and Guam will be added once it secures E-175 fleet in 2019.
By Moon Ji-woong and Lee Ha-yeon