Eastar Jet to resume flights after three years of suspension

2023.03.15 12:02:01 | 2023.03.15 12:16:01

Chief Executive Officer of Eastar Jet, Cho Joong-seok at press conference on Tuesday [Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

Chief Executive Officer of Eastar Jet, Cho Joong-seok at press conference on Tuesday [Photo by Yonhap]

South Korea’s budget carrier Eastar Jet Co. will resume flights for the first time in three years on March 26 and operate up to 10 aircraft this year to offer not only domestic but also international services.

Under a five-year business plan unveiled by its Chief Executive Officer Cho Joong-seok on Tuesday, Eastar Jet will operate up to 10 aircraft by the end of this year, up from the current 3. The low-cost carrier, which flies three B737-800s, is in talks with aircraft leasing companies to add two more in the first half and five more in the second half. Of them, three will be the next-generation B737-8 aircraft, which are likely to fly international routes from Gimpo International Airport in Seoul to Taipei Songshan Airport in Taiwan. It will also consider more routes that are in high demand in Southeast Asia such as Vietnam and Thailand and in Japan such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka.

The resumption in the operations comes as Eastar Jet re-acquired an air operator certificate from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Feb. 28, three years after its operations were suspended on March 24 2020 due to financial difficulties.

The company launched sales of passenger tickets for the Gimpo-Jeju route for the flights between March and October on its website.

Eastar Jet also set a financial goal to achieve 146 billion won ($112.5 million) in sales this year and seek a turnaround in profit next year. In 2027, it is hoping to operate more than 20 aircraft and raise 800 billion won in sales. The carrier plans to hire 200 more employees this year.

“In the process of VIG Partners acquiring Eastar Jet, (the private equity firm) preemptively pushed to introduce new aircraft,” Cho said. “Leasing companies are actively engaged in the negotiations following the injection of operation funds and re-issuance of the AOC.”

By Seo Jin-woo and Yoon Yeon-hae

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