[Photo provided by Air Premia]
South Korea’s unfledged Air Premia has gotten a chance to take off in the battered budget airline market amidst yearlong impasse in the air travel due to pandemic after a consortium led by Hong Kong-based logistics firm Korchina Logistics offered to buy out the newcomer.
According to multiple sources from the aviation and the investment banking industries, the consortium of Korchina Logistics and private equity fund JC Partners will incrementally take over a 68.9 percent stake in the airline startup for 50 billion won ($44.5 million) to 65 billion won including the managerial rights over the next three months.
Korchina Logistics, a global freight forwarding and logistics service provider with 52 branch offices across the globe, is expected to bring about synergy to the new air carrier. Its president Park Bong-Chul, who joined the buyout as a shareholder, has worked at Korean Air. JC Partners is a private equity fund that took over KDB Life and MG Non-Life Insurance last year.
Air Premia will use the new capital to lift off its operation grounded since winning a permit in March 2019.
The carrier was granted LCC business license on the condition that it files for an air operator certificate (AOC) within a year but has yet to win the AOC due to virus-led delay in delivery of aircrafts.
With the capital injection, Air Premia plans to launch the flight service this year by adding 10 Boeing B787 jets to its fleet to pose as an longer-haul budget carrier.
By Han Woo-ram and Lee Soo-min
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