Eastar receives license to resume flights after three years

2023.02.28 13:31:02 | 2023.02.28 13:40:04

Eastar Jet counters at the departure hall in Incheon Airport in March, 2020 [Photo by Kim Ho-young]이미지 확대

Eastar Jet counters at the departure hall in Incheon Airport in March, 2020 [Photo by Kim Ho-young]

Eastar Jet Co., a low-cost airline in South Korea, will resume operations after receiving a license from the Korean government, three years after the budget carrier was grounded due to financial difficulties and the pandemic.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport completed its inspection of the safety operation of Eastar Jet and reissued an Air Operator Certificate, the ministry said Tuesday. An AOC is a “safety license” issued to aircraft operators around the world after their governments comprehensively checked and confirmed their personnel, facilities, maintenance and flight/maintenance support systems follow the safety standards before they carry out commercial air transport operations.

In March 2020, Eastar Jet suspended operations due to a combination of deteriorating financial problems and Covid. The company then applied for court receivership in February 2021 after Jeju Air Co., the largest low-cost airline in Korea, scrapped its plan to acquire Eastar Jet in 2020.

In June 2021, Sung Jung Co., a local golf course management and property developer, acquired Eastar Jet and applied for AOC renewal to the ministry but was delayed as the company failed to secure capital for safe operation. The cash-strapped Eastar Jet was then resold to VIG Partners, a private equity firm, in January this year.

The ministry had formed a team of professional inspectors in each field, such as control and maintenance, to inspect the overall status of Eastar Jet‘s operational capabilities and decided to reissue the AOC as it judged that the airline’s support personnel and facilities, such as aviation safety personnel, training status and operation and maintenance support systems were appropriate.

Eastar Jet plans to resume operations, starting with flights between Seoul and Jeju as early as next month after going through procedures such as securing permission for regular flights from the ministry. The airlines plans to add more planes to its current fleet of three Boeing Co. 737-800 aircraft to add more services.

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