South Korean budget carrier T'way Air Co. on Friday began flight service between Jeju Island and Japanese city of Osaka, a move aimed at capitalizing on growing low-cost travel demand during the peak summer season.
As part of its push to expand its services, T'way Air said it will also start other international routes from Busan to Osaka and Vietnam's Da Nang on Saturday.
The move comes as many South Koreans are choosing to go to Japan and Southeast Asian countries for their summer holidays over China, following the recent diplomatic row over the deployment of a US anti-missile defense system in South Korea.
The company`s CEO Jeong Hong-geun (sixth from left) and employees celebrate the opening of the Jeju Island-Osaka route at Jeju International Airport on June 30, 2017. (T`way Air)
On Sept. 1, the low cost carrier plans to inaugurate the Jeju Island-Tokyo route to strengthen its services as South Korea's six budget carriers compete with each other for a bigger share of passenger traffic. The five other LCCs are Jin Air, Jeju Air, Air Busan Co., Air Seoul Inc. and Eastar Jet.
Jeju is a popular resort island off the country's southwestern coast while Busan is South Korea's largest sea port, 453 km southeast of Seoul.
Meanwhile, T'way Air, a unit 80-percent owned by T'way Holdings, outlined the so-called 2025 plan which includes an expansion of its fleet and new plane leases and even purchases.
To serve on long-haul routes, the country's fifth-biggest budget carrier by sales plans to acquire 10 large passenger jets by 2025 from Airbus or Boeing to expand its fleet, the company's Air Chief Executive Jeong Hong-geun told reporters Thursday.
"The country's six budget carriers are competing with each other mainly in Asian markets. While seeking a share in the short-haul Asian route markets, we will explore new low-cost travel demand in the mid- and long-range route markets for sustainable growth," Jeong said.
He cited an unspecified city in the US and Frankfurt, Germany as initial long-range service route destinations followed by London, Paris and Rome in Europe as the next targets.
T'way Air currently serves 39 routes to eight countries -- Japan and seven other Asian countries with a fleet of 18 B737-800 jets, all leased from Boeing. It aims to reinforce the fleet to 30 jets by 2020 and 50 by 2025. (Yonhap)