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New airline players stake claims in South Korea’s long haul market

Premium Analysis

Two smaller South Korean airlines are expanding the widebody operations they launched the past two years, providing a degree of home-based long haul competition to the dominant Korean airlines.

Air Premia plans to boost its Boeing 787 fleet this year to further its international ambitions, after launching its longest route – to Los Angeles – in Oct-2022. The low cost carrier T’Way has just launched its first long haul route – to Sydney – in Dec-2022, using Airbus A330s that it added in 2022.

These developments have positive aspects for Korean Air, which has been working with regulators in the US and elsewhere to assure them that there is enough competition in these markets to allow its proposed merger with Asiana to go ahead.

The Air Premia and T’Way long haul moves are obviously not enough to shake up South Korea’s overall international market share. However, those moves will be significant on the specific routes they have entered, and both airlines are likely to expand to more international routes.

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