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Low-cost carriers fare well in 2010

Korea’s low-cost airlines showed improved performances last year thanks to a surge in demand for air travel and expanded routes, industry data showed Monday.

The country’s biggest discount carrier Jeju Air Co. posted 158 billion won ($143 million) in sales last year, up 80 percent from a year earlier, data showed. It did not post its operating profit, but its operating loss came to a smaller-than-expected 5 billion won.

The discount carrier said it is targeting sales of 211 billion won this year, up 34 percent from last year, and an operating profit of 7.5 billion won.

The carrier launched its flight services in June 2006.

Jin Air Co., a wholly owned unit of top local carrier Korean Air Lines Co., saw its sales almost double to a record 120 billion won last year. The company also logged an operating profit of 7 billion won.
Air Busan’s A312-200 airplane.  (Air Busan)
Air Busan’s A312-200 airplane.  (Air Busan)

Jin Air began offering its flight services in July 2008, and has been offering international flights on routes between Incheon, the country’s main gateway, and Bangkok, as well as Incheon and Guam.

“Demand for air travel surged last year, and budget carriers started operations on international routes that link cities in China and Japan, which boosted sales,” said an official at Jin Air.

Air Busan Co., whose controlling stake is owned by No. 2 full-service carrier Asiana Airlines Inc., is estimated to have recorded 120 billion won in sales last year, up 70 percent from a year earlier.

The carrier is expected to have logged an operating profit of 4 billion won last year. It started providing flight services in October 2008.

Air Busan has been providing overseas flight services on routes between Busan and destinations in Japan, including Fukuoka and Osaka.

Eastar Jet Co., which launched its flight services in January 2009, posted 108 billion won in sales last year, up 145 percent from a year earlier. The airline chalked up an operating loss of 5 billion won due to its plane introduction cost, according to the data. (Yonhap News)
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