MIAMI – Two newcomers, that are not that new, Air Premia (YP) and Aero K (RF) will soon start operating, adding two carriers to the already rich Low Cost Carriers (LCC) group—a total of seven—flying the South Korean market.

This is an astonishing large number that makes one wonder how the South Korean market can sustain so many LCCs. However, it seems more wings are set to fly the South Korean LCC skies.

Air Premia

The LCC, founded in July 2017 by former Jeju Air President Kim Jong Chul and based in Seoul (ICN) applied for an Air Carrier Operating License on November 2, 2018. As announced by YP CEO Kim Se-Young, the aim was to start operations in September-October 2020 and propose mid and long haul routes.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, operations were delayed to 2021. YP plans to start long haul services offering flights to Los Angeles (LAX) and San José (SJC). Other targets destinations to include Honolulu (HNL) and Vancouver (YVR).

The carrier also plans to use Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with three to be ordered in 2021 followed by two more every year and up to a total of ten aircraft in five years.

The aircraft are configured in a two class scheme: Prime Economy with a seat pitch of 42 inches and business class services, priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling. In comparison Etihad Airways’s (EY) Economy Class has a seat pitch of 35 inches, the widest EY seat in the class.

Aero K

Aero K is not a new comer in the LCC market as it is the avatar of KAIR based at Cheongju Airport (CJJ). The carrier received an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) on December 28, 2020 after the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) deemed that the carrier financial situation was strong enough to sustain flight operations.

A previous AOC applications in 2018 was turned down because of financial shortcomings. On this matter, the MOLIT stated that ” the issuance of an AOC is not the only and final stage of an air carrier set up but just the starting point of the obligation the air carrier has to maintain a safe operation system.”

Operations were set to start in March 2020 but this plan was disrupted by the current COVID-19 pandemic. RF operates at the moment a single Airbus A320-200 with seven more aircraft on order.

A particular aspect of this LCC is the adoption of “gender-less uniforms.”

Featured image: Aero K