Budget Airline Jin Air to Fly to Bangkok, Macau
Jin Air, Korean Air's budget affiliate, has selected China and Thailand as its first two destinations for international service.
The budget carrier, which started domestic service last July, said it would start international operation starting in October to Macau and Bangkok. Airfare will be about 80 percent of that of full service carriers.
``We are also considering operating to cities in nations with which Korea has made `open sky' pacts, such as Osaka in Japan and the Shandong Peninsula in China. We'll add three more destinations by the end of this year,'' Kim Jae-kun, president and CEO of Jin Air, said in a media briefing in Seoul, Monday.
Kim said Jin Air's competitor on the international routes to Southeast Asia is not Korean Air but foreign carriers which take up 60-70 percent of the market, especially low cost ones.
``We can guarantee much better safety than those budget airlines. We may be able to lower fare to similar levels,'' Kim said.
For the plan, the carrier will adopt one more aircraft within the year. It now has four B737-800s.
The airline also expanded domestic operations between Seoul and Jeju to 24 from 16 last Sunday, and will newly provide eight daily service between Busan and Jeju Friday.
``We had 10 billion won in sales last year, and aim to get 90 billion won this year along with the launch of international operation. We hope we can reach the break-even point in 2010 and lead the budget air travel market here,'' Kim said.
He said one of the strongest points of Jin Air is safety ― the airline was recently listed on the International Air Transport Association (IATA)'s IATA Operational Safety Audits (IOSA) registry, an evaluation system to assess the operational management and control systems of airlines.
Jin Air is the first budget airline in Korea to pass the audit, and it obtained approval eight months after the service launch, the shortest time of every carrier in the world. ``We passed the audit without any findings or observations and were recognized as `perfect.' It showed our commitment to safety,'' Kim said.
The airline has 10 percent discount programs for corporations, available not only to workers of the companies but also their family members. The program will apply to international flights as well.