South Korea`s Low-cost carriers. [Photo by each company]
The latest discoveries of serious defects on some of the jets made by the U.S. aircraft giant Boeing have raised alarms for Korea’s budget carriers with heavy reliance on a single model.
According to study Maeil Business Newspaper, four low-cost carriers (LCCs) majors – Jeju Air, Air Busan, T’way Air and Air Seoul – use the same single model and the other two liners including Estar Air and Jin Air also run a fleet that is highly dependent on one model.
The nation’s biggest budget liner Jeju Air has 46 aircrafts which are all Boeing B737NG. T’way Air operates 26 units of the same model. Air Busan and Air Seoul run 26 and seven Airbus A320 models, respectively. Jin Air has 26 units of B737 NG and four B777 models designated for long-haul flights, and Estar operates 21 units of B737NG and two B737 MAX models.
Local LCCs have been achieving rapid growth thanks to the strategy to use a single model, which significantly reduces costs of maintenance and human resources management. They can also buy aircraft components at low cost in bulk.
But the recent incidents and accidents caused by defective Boeing jets have raised a grave concern for the budget carriers. Last month, nine B737NG airplanes run by three local airlines were grounded for closer checks after the country’s aviation authorities discovered cracks in the planes. The discovery followed the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s order of new inspections of 737NGs after structural cracks were found in parts of some planes in the U.S. early October. Earlier this year, worldwide aviation authorities grounded Boeing 737 MAX passenger airliner after two fatal crashes that killed 346 people.
By Song Gwang-sup and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]