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Jeju Air, T’way Air expand into in-house ground handling

Budget carriers Jeju Air and T’way Air have made moves toward creating affiliate companies tasked with the airlines’ ground handling operations, according to the two airlines Monday.

Jeju Air announced that it had signed a deal to buy Dongbo Airport, a company specializing in airline operations and ground handling services. Dongbo had been providing ground handling operations for T’way Air.
Dongbo will begin servicing Jeju Air as early as this year.

“As Jeju Air’s fleet and flights continue to expand, the need for stable support services has become more important,” an official with Jeju Air said.

(Jeju Air)
(Jeju Air)

Ground handling refers to operations that take place at airlines while planes are parked. These include passenger services such as check-in and boarding, as well as facilities services such as ramp handling and tasks related to the plane such as cleaning and fueling.

T’way Air also said Monday that it would be working to set up its own affiliate for ground handling. Last week, T’way began recruiting ground handling staff for its new affiliate, tentatively named T’way Air Service. The affiliate is expected to begin providing services in mid-December.

“T’way will be able to independently supervise passenger services at airports, providing more stability to support staff while also improving service quality,” the company said. 

The announcements mean that all Korean airlines will have their own ground handling operations, with Korean Air and Asiana Airlines already having affiliates for their full-service and budget carriers, as well as low-cost carrier Eastar Jet operating its own affiliate as well.

“Having a ground services affiliate instead of outsourcing provides the obvious benefits of consistency in operations as well as cost savings, but it also allows airlines to create more in-house jobs, which is significant under the current administration,” said an industry insider. 

By Won Ho-jung (