Industry News

July flight demand expected to recover 40% of pre-pandemic
April 26, 2022

The daily average of air travelers is expected to be around 81,000 in July, which is around 40 percent of air travelers from the same period in 2019, right before the pandemic hit the world, according to the operator of South Korea‘s major air gateway Incheon Airport, on Monday.
After November, Incheon International Airport Corp. anticipates a 70 percent recovery of the daily average air travelers and is gearing up for normalization of its operations in phrases, officials said in a regular press briefing.
South Korea has seen a slight recovery in air travel demand after the government exempted vaccinated overseas arrivals from quarantine requirements, beginning in March.


Drones Help Korean Air Slash Plane Inspection Times By 60%

December 17, 2021

Korean Air has developed a new method of inspecting aircraft using not one drone, but a whole swarm. The airline says that by using these drone ‘swarms’, it can shave up to 60% off its inspection times. The added bonus is each of the 12 lb drones gets its own Korean Air livery!


Aviation, tourism industries rushing to prepare for 'living with COVID-19'
October 19, 2021
Expectations toward demand recovery for overseas travel are rising in the aviation and tourism industries, in line with the government's move to shift to a "living with COVID-19" scheme next month. In preparation for growing demand, domestic air carriers are rushing to resume their flights on international routes.


Atlas Air to establish maintenance facility at Incheon airport
August 31, 2021
Atlas Air has signed a memorandum of agreement with Sharp Technics K (STK), a Korean MRO company, and Incheon International Airport Corp. (IIAC) to enter into a joint venture with STK to develop a dedicated MRO facility at Incheon airport. Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, which owns the New York-based cargo and passenger charter airline, said Monday that the facility is expected to open in 2025 in response to the airline's growing wide-body maintenance needs in the Asia-Pacific region.


Korea to bulk up airlines maintenance sector
August 12, 2021
The government will help reduce foreign reliance in commercial airline maintenance, repair and overhaul as part of efforts to nurture the country's next growth engines, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki said Thursday. The country's top economic policy maker said the government will push to cut the rate of such reliance to 30 percent or below by 2025, and in return, expand the value of the domestic maintenance market to 5 trillion won ($4.31 billion) by 2030.


Air Premia wins gov't approval for operations

July 16, 2021

Budget carrier Air Premia Co. has obtained government approval for its operations amid the extended COVID-19 pandemic, the transport ministry said Friday. The ministry issued an air operator certificate (AOC) to Air Premia to allow it to use aircraft for commercial purposes.

South Korean developer acquires Eastar Jet for $97 million - Yonhap

June 24, 2021

South Korean property developer SJ Co Ltd has acquired budget airline Eastar Jet for 110 billion won ($97 million), Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday. SJ paid a deposit of 11 billion won and plans to issue new shares to complete the transaction, the report said.

IAI to establish a Boeing 777 conversion facility in South Korea
May 4, 2021
Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Aviation Group has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), with the Incheon International Airport and Sharp Technics, to establish a Passenger 2 Cargo (P2F) conversion site in South Korea.
The facility will specialise in converting Boeing 777-ERSF (“Big Twin”) from passenger to freighter.

Eastar Jet could fly again as soon as June

February 18, 2021

South Korea’s troubled low-cost carrier Eastar Jet, which filed for court receivership last month, could be back in the sky as soon as June amid increased chances of a deal. According to industry sources, the number of potential buyers -- including a private equity fund and a construction company -- has risen from four to six or seven, with the acquisition process set to be finalized by late May.

Operation of Air Premia and Aero K delayed amid prolonged pandemic

February 17, 2021

In a statement on Wednesday, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said the two airlines can fly their first flights by the end of this year in order to retain their operating license, pushing back the date from early March to December.

Two New Korean Airlines Set to Launch Soon

February 2, 2021

The aviation industry in South Korea is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, as Air Premia and Aero K, two brand-new budget carriers, are going to launch services as soon as next month. Both airlines were granted their Air Carrier Licenses – which allow for interstate, foreign, overseas, or mail transport – in 2019.

Sabre renews long-term distribution agreement with Jeju Air
January 12, 2021
Sabre Corporation, a software and technology provider, has announced the renewal of its long-term distribution partnership with Korea’s largest Low Cost Carrier (LCC), Jeju Air. The renewed agreement means that Sabre will continue to distribute Jeju Air’s content to hundreds of thousands of travel agents, and the travellers they serve, through its extensive, worldwide travel marketplace. 


KAI’s MRO unit scores maintenance contract with Jeju Air

January 8, 2021

Korean Aviation Engineering and Maintenance Services (KAEMS) has clinched a maintenance contract with low-cost carrier Jeju Air for work on six Boeing 737-800s.The Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) MRO unit has also disclosed that discussions with another South Korean low-cost carrier T’way Air to maintain more 737s are still ongoing.

Aero K gets flight certificate AOC

December 29, 2020
South Korean start-up carrier Aero K received the official Air Operator Certificate (AOC) for international and domestic air travel services issued by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) on December 28, 2020. According to the MOLIT, the financial situation was deemed sufficient for Aero K to start its operations. The low-cost South Korean airline would be able to commence services after obtaining other necessary allowances, such as route permit.

Eastar Jet in final M&A talks with another local firm
December 29, 2020
South Korean budget carrier Eastar Jet Co. is reportedly in the final talks with a Jeolla-based company in hopes to keep afloat after its M&A deal with its bigger rival Jeju Air fell through five months ago. Eastar Jet is said to be in the final negotiation process with a candidate based in Jeolla Provinces, according to industry sources on Monday.


Korean Air, Asiana integration hinges on non-core businesses
December 27, 2020
The looming merger between Korean Air and Asiana Airlines hinges on how the former will deal with their aviation services divisions, such as maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and in-flight catering. According to industry officials, Sunday, Hanjin Group, the parent of Korean Air, is now working on post-merger integration plans after Korean Air's acquisition of Asiana. 


Korean Air, Asiana Airlines launch inter-airline through check-in service
December 16, 2020
Korean Air and Asiana Airlines will launch an inter-airline through check-in (IATCI) service that allows passengers to receive a boarding pass for their connecting flight at the place of their departure and transfer their checked baggage to their final destination. This is the first service the country’s two largest carriers, which are in the process of a merger, introduced to enhance customer convenience.

Korea’s Jeju Air gets $29.4mn aid but must wait for the rest
December 14, 2020
South Korea will provide KRW32.1 billion won (USD29.4 million) in assistance to Jeju Air (7C, Jeju) to help it stay afloat amid the slump in demand, the state-run Korea Development Bank, which operates the country’s Key Industry Stabilisation Fund (KISF), said in a statement on December 10. The amount consists of KRW25.7 billion (USD23.5 million) in loans and a KRW6.4 billion (USD5.9 million) investment through the acquisition of convertible bonds.


Virus-hit Jeju Air to receive state funding for survival
December 10, 2020
South Korea will inject 32.1 billion won (US$29 million) into the virus-hit budget carrier Jeju Air Co. to help it stay afloat amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, a state lender said Thursday.

Jeju Air and Navitaire sign strategic partnership
December 9, 2020
Navitaire, an Amadeus company, has signed a strategic technology partnership with Jeju Air, South Korea’s largest low-cost carrier (LCC). Through this partnership, the airline will use Navitaire’s advanced airline platform, including its leading New Skies “e-commerce first” reservation and retailing system, GoNow day-of-departure and pricing optimization solutions.


Korean Air's Takeover of Asiana on Track After Court Decision
December 1, 2020
South Korea’s bid to restructure its airline industry was given the green light after a court cleared a crucial step in Korean Air Lines Co.’s plan to buy smaller rival Asiana Airlines Inc.
The Seoul Central District Court on Tuesday rejected a request to halt a sale of new shares by Korean Air’s parent to state-run Korea Development Bank, a stock issue designed to enable the takeover. The ruling clears the path for the biggest reorganization in South Korea’s airline industry.

Korean MRO specialist launches Sacheon facility
November 24, 2020
Korea Aerospace Industries’ (KAI’s) dedicated services company, Korea Aviation Engineering & Maintenance Service (KAEMS), has launched its new facility in Sacheon, in the south of the country, aiming to position the region as a hub for aerospace maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services.


KAEMS opens new aircraft MRO center in southern Korea
November 19, 2020
South Korea’s first MRO company Korea Aviation Engineering & Maintenance Service (KAEMS) on Tuesday has opened a new aircraft MRO center in Sacheon, a southern city of Korea, aiming to nurture the site as an aviation MRO hub in Asia.
With the building, KAEMS now is able to work on MRO for 100 aircrafts of B737. It is licensed to work on A320 plane and larger aircrafts like B787. Currently, about 200 B737 aircrafts are in operation in Korea. Airliners had to send most of the carriers to other countries due to lack of capacity at home.

Korean Air to take over rival Asiana in $2.8bn buyout

November 16, 2020

Korean Air will take over rival Asiana Airlines in a $2.8 billion buyout to turbocharge the South Korean flag-carrier and catapult it to become one of the world's largest airlines. The Hanjin Group conglomerate, which owns Korean Air, today confirmed the acquisition, which will be part-funded by a $990 million investment from the Korea Development Bank, with the airline raising the remainder through shares and bonds.

Sale of Air Busan, Air Seoul inevitable

September 13, 2020

Creditors of Asiana Airlines are expected to push for the sale of Air Busan and Air Seoul, in a bid to normalize the nation's second-largest full-service carrier following the collapse of the HDC-Asiana acquisition deal, according to industry officials, Sunday.


Creditors to inject $2 billion into Asiana Airlines after sale collapses

September 11, 2020

Creditors plan to inject $2 billion into debt-ridden Asiana Airlines after a planned sale of South Korea's second-largest carrier collapsed, a state bank said on Friday. Kumho Industrial pulled the 2.5 trillion won ($2.11 billion) sale of the South Korean to Hyundai Development Co and brokerage Mirae Asset Daewoo .

New Jeju Air boss sees pandemic as defining moment

September 1, 2020

E-Bae Kim has been chief executive of Jeju Air since 1 June, following a 30-year career with Asiana Airlines. His predecessor in the role, Lee Seok Joo, left the airline to become chief executive of Jeju Air’s parent, AK Holdings. As with other airline bosses, Kim is grappling with challenges such as managing cash, supporting employees through the crisis, and preparing the airline for the industry’s uncertain future.

Incheon Airport projected to lose over W430b this year

August 31, 2020

Incheon International Airport Corp. is set to post an annual deficit of over 430 billion ($ 363 million) won this year, according to its latest projection Monday.
As things stand in August, the airport is on course to be in the red this year, marking the first time in 17 years since 2003. The projection comes following a sharp drop in the number of flights and revenue during the first half of 2020, which saw its previous projected deficit grow over time since the first quarter.

Asiana deal at critical juncture, leaning toward collapse

August 9, 2020

Creditors of embattled Asiana Airlines Co. are drawing up a set of countermeasures against the potential rupture of a deal to sell the country's No. 2 carrier, as local property developer Hyundai Development Co. is leaning toward withdrawing from the 2.5 trillion-won (US$2.1 billion) deal, industry sources said Sunday.

The state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) last week warned that HDC should proceed with the deal to buy Asiana Airlines, rejecting HDC's request for another round of due diligence on the country's No. 2 air carrier.


Korean Air, Asiana log earnings surprises on cargo flights as global rivals record losses

August 7, 2020

Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc. have bucked the global trend of the devastating aviation industry and made rare quarterly profits, as they focused on cargo flights, defying the coronavirus travel slump.

Asiana Airlines Inc. on Friday joined its bigger local rival Korean Air Lines Co. to report an earnings surprise. In a regulatory filing, the country’s No. 2 carrier said it delivered an operating profit of 115.1 billion won ($96.9 million) in the second quarter, ending six straight quarters of losses. Sales fell 45% on year to 818.6 billion won.

Jeju Air could take $15m hit from cancelled Eastar Jet deal

August 6, 2020

Jeju Air may have scrapped plans to acquire a majority stake in Eastar Jet, but it could still take a further W18 billion ($15 million) hit to its bottom line.

“The [stock sale] contract was cancelled after the settlement date [lapsed], but the [advance payment of W11.95 billion was made to] the seller (Eastar Holdings and two others) and [external auditors are currently reviewing] the proper accounting of [a W10 billion] loan [extended] to Eastar Jet,” Jeju said in a 5 August stock-exchange disclosure of its unaudited second-quarter results.

Asiana Airlines set to go under KDB management as blames goes to HDC Hyundai

August 4, 2020

Asiana Airlines and its family are headed to go under creditors led by Korea Development Bank (KDB) as the state lender more or less gave up on HDC Hyundai Development by blaming the bidder for stalling and wrecking the buyout deal.
“Kumho Industrial (parent of Asiana Airlines) and KDB have not done anything wrong (during the deal process), and the full responsibility of a deal collapse lies with HDC Hyundai Development,” said KDB Chairman Lee Dong-gull during an online briefing on Monday.

Korean Air to revamp website and mobile platforms with Amadeus’s Digital Experience Suite

July 23, 2020

Flag carrier Korean Air is to revamped its website and mobile platforms supported by leading European GDS and technology supplier Amadeus. As part of an expanded partnership the airline will use the Amadeus Digital Experience Suite (DES) as it prepares for a post pandemic world.

South Korea’s Aero K Partners with Skytrac on A320 Cellular Connectivity

July 21, 2020

Aero K Airlines, a low-cost startup carrier based in South Korea, has entered into a partnership with Skytrac Systems to enable global mobile data coverage to its fleet of Airbus A320s operated on domestic and international flights. The airline is the final stages of obtaining an aircraft operating certificate with plans to begin domestic flights from Cheongju International Airport next month. 

Sharp Drop in Passengers at Incheon Airport

July 20, 2020

According to the Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC), passenger volume has taken a nose-dive with the daily average number of passengers plummeting to around 7,000 people in recent weeks. Before COVID-19, around 200,000 passengers made use of the airport every day.

The airport corporation said last Saturday that for the period from January 1 through July 16, the number of visitors to the airport amounted to 18.9 million in total, only half of the tally recorded during the same period last year (38.7 million)

Korean Air Seeks to Convert Passenger Jets into Cargo Planes amid Rising Demand

July 20, 2020

Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea’s biggest carrier, said Monday it is seeking to convert some of its passenger jets into cargo planes to keep the business afloat amid the new coronavirus outbreak.

Korean Air will consult with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to remove seats on some of its 26 B777-300ER passenger jets and fill them with cargo, a company spokesman said over the phone.

Asiana Airlines Reportedly Considering Plan B as Sale to HDC Likely to Fall through

July 20, 2020

Asiana Airlines has begun reviewing a Plan B as its sale to HDC Hyundai Development is likely to fall through. The faltering airline has reportedly launched a task force to review its options. One of the options is to look for ways for survival under the wing of Kumho Asiana Group.  Another option is to promote separate sales of Asiana Airlines and its subsidiaries, including low cost carriers Air Seoul and Air Busan, after handing over some of Asiana Airlines’ service routes to the subsidiaries. 

Jeju Air claims time is up for M&A deal with Easter, leaves room for govt mediation

July 16, 2020

South Korean leading budget carrier Jeju Air Co., South Korea’s top budget carrier on Thursday claimed it no longer was bound to the contract to acquire smaller LCC peer Easter Jet Co., but nevertheless left the room open for government mediation before a complete walkout.

Korean Air to sell in-flight business to Hahn & Company for about $840 mn

July 6, 2020

Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd. has tentatively agreed to sell its in-flight duty free and meal service units to the country’s second-largest private equity firm Hahn & Company, with the carve-out expected to secure almost 1 trillion won ($840 million) for the cash-strapped flagship carrier, according to industry sources on July 6.

The two companies are in final discussions on the terms and conditions of the deal which Korean Air plans to report to the board meeting on July 7. The deal value may vary depending on how the meal service is priced.

Additionally, Hahn & Company is considering buying the aviation training center of Korean Air located in Yeongjong Island for an undisclosed sum, which is expected to help solve its liquidity problems caused by the global pandemic.

Meet Aero K - to commence first service on 11-Aug-2020

July 5, 2020

South Korea is set to get another low-cost carrier (LCC) in the next few months with the launch of Aero K. A fun-loving, price-sensitive airline with a twist; Aero K is shaking up the South Korean airline industry in more ways than one.

S. Korea's Int'l Air Passengers Plunge 98% in Q2 amid COVID-19

July 5, 2020

The number of South Korean international air travelers plunged nearly 98 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to data by the Korea Civil Aviation Association on Sunday, the number of air passengers on international routes by local air carriers dipped 97-point-eight percent on-year to 328-thousand in the April-June period.

HDC wins all overseas regulatory approvals for Asiana takeover

July 3, 2020

HDC Hyundai Development Co. said Friday it has received all overseas regulatory approvals for its takeover of Asiana Airlines Inc. and is in talks with the airline's creditors for renegotiations over acquisition terms.

Regulators in the United States, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Russia and South Korea already approved HDC's planned takeover of Asiana Airlines. On Thursday, Russia was the final country to approve the integration of the Asiana takeover, the company said in a statement.

Aviation-Centered Mergers and Acquisition in South Korea Slow to a Halt

June 30, 2020

With COVID-19 raging throughout the world, the aviation industry has experienced its longest battle in decades. In South Korea, mergers and acquisitions have halted since the pandemic began, a development that has proven particularly impactful for the aviation industry and those looking to take part in it.