Monday, May 22, 2017

Korea-New budget carrier based in Pohang gets ready for flight operations

A new budget carrier based in Pohang will complete its business registration this week so it can prepare to start flight operations in late 2017, the government said Sunday.

Air Pohang had requested permission to commercially operate small airliners with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on April 4, outlining plans to employ planes with a passenger capacity of under 50 people.The ministry said that it has been in constant communication with the company so it can meet all requirements for the air operator certificate that will permit it to ferry passengers.

Under South Korean law airlines that operate planes with a capacity of more than 50 people must get a special license. Those wanting to operate smaller planes only require a paid-in capital of 1.5 billion won and one plane.

Once a company gets an AOC it takes roughly five months to hire the necessary personnel, set up facilities and establish flight safety rules.

"Air Pohang is ready to speed up efforts to start providing services once all administrative requirements have been met," a company executive said. He added that the company already hired 14 pilots and four flight attendants, with the first Canadian Bombardier CRJ-200 twin-engine regional airliner to arrive in the country on June 7.

"There is growing market for air transport and Air Pohang intends to capitalize on it," he emphasized.

It said two other CRJ-200 jets will arrive in the country in August and October, with the aim of operating two daily flights linking the industrial city 374 kilometers southeast of Seoul with Jeju International Airport. The airline will operate five daily flights between Pohang and Seoul's Gimpo International Airport.

Air Pohang said the two routes will take some 50 minutes with the air fare set at around 60,000 won ($53.4).

At present, only Korean Air, the country's largest full-service carrier, operates two daily flights linking Gimpo and Pohang.

Besides the domestic routes, the company said it plans to work with travel agencies to operate chartered flights to neighboring countries like China, Japan and Russia’s far east region.

Air Pohang will become the second regional airline in the country after Korea Express Air based in Yangyang that operates Embraer ERJ-145 jets.
The new airline, meanwhile, will be owned by Donghwa Electronics Co. which will inject 10 billion won into the company, with investments of 2 billion each coming from North Gyeongsang Province and Pohang City. (Yonhap)

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