Air Busan launched Busan-Narita service on 23-Jun-2011 with a load factor of 99% (All Nikkan Koku, 24-Jun-2011). There were 193 passengers on the Busan-Narita sector and 194 passengers on the return sector, making it a full flight. Narita is the third point in Japan for Air Busan, which already operates to Fukuoka and Kansai.
Air Busan launches Busan-Narita service with 99% load factor
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Jeju Air is Northeast Asia's largest LCC outside China; opening a Busan base to continue growth
Jeju Air continues to hold its place as Korea's largest LCC, and the largest LCC in Northeast Asia outside mainland China. Although service to its namesake island of Jeju continues to define its domestic network, internationally Jeju Air has long been expanding outside the geography of its brand. Seoul has been Jeju Air's main focus, and in 2016 Jeju Air is building up in Busan. Jeju Air CEO Ken Choi remarked at CAPA's Asia Aviation Summit that Jeju Air is targeting 20% of Korea's second largest city, which the airline believes is not being well served by Asiana's LCC Air Busan. Early moves are critical: Busan is running out of slots.
Jeju Air has an all-737 fleet of 25 aircraft and expects to add two more around the end of 2016. In 2017 Jeju Air will adopt the technology for the Value Alliance of which it is a member. Mr Choi hopes to see the alliance expand in mainland China, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
Consolidation among Korean LCCs is still as necessary as it is unlikely. Open skies with China is another contentious matter for Korea, with full service airlines opposed to it, whereas LCCs support the development.
Korean LCC t'way grows Daegu base, seeking expansion outside congested Seoul, Busan and Jeju
After several years of uncertainty, the Korean LCC t'way appears to be settling in for the medium term. T'way was Korea's smallest LCC until the mid-2016 launch of Air Seoul. A few initiatives indicate t'way is planning more strategically, and for the future, suggesting greater confidence. Bulking up, diversifying and creating new growth areas could help the airline with its plan to IPO in two years.
T'way is expanding its Daegu base in southern Korea. The LCC missed the big growth out of Korea's major cities when its positioning was fragile. With Seoul and Jeju facing capacity constraints Korea's LCCs turned to Busan, but now Busan is also constrained. T'way's expansion in Daegu is 83km from Busan.
Daegu is Korea's third largest population area, potentially making it good for outbound, with inbound more of a challenge to market but not impossible. Regional Korean airports, like their Japanese peers, will increasingly try to attract foreign airlines. T'way plans to add 737-900s, which can be used to upgauge or reach further into Southeast Asia, which Korean LCCs have only partially penetrated.