Korea’s LCC Jeju Air launches first flights to Vietnam; now operates 13 international and three domestic routes

Jeju Air’s main international market is Japan, where the South Korean low-cost airline serves four destinations. The airline serves Osaka Kansai with three routes, of which the most recent to be launched was the route from Jeju. The route, which launched last summer, is set to increase from three to five weekly frequencies later this month.

Korea’s Jeju Air was founded in 2005 and launched flights in June 2006. Operating as a low-cost carrier with a current fleet of 10 186/189-seat 737-800s (there are six more on order), the airline flies three domestic routes from Jeju, and a further 13 international routes primarily from Seoul’s two airports at Incheon and Gimpo. Last week saw the launch of Jeju Air’s first flights from Incheon to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, the airline’s first scheduled service to this country.

The airline was set up by the Aekyung Group (a major chemical company which claims to have launched Korea’s first beauty soap in 1956) in conjunction with the Jeju provincial government (which is a minority shareholder). As a result, the airline’s domestic route network is focused on Jeju with 12 daily flights to Seoul’s more convenient (but older) airport at Gimpo, seven daily flights to Busan and two daily flights to Cheongju. Curiously, none of the domestic flights from Jeju depart before 08:30 in the morning.

International flights to five countries; focus on Japan

Jeju Air began flying internationally in July 2008 (from Jeju to Hiroshima) and now operates 13 international routes of which 10 are served daily, with the remaining three operating three times weekly. Destinations served outside of Korea are Hong Kong, Japan (Fukuoka, Kitakyushi, Nagoya, Osaka Kansai), the Philippines (Manila), Thailand (Bangkok) and most recently Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City). Details of the routes and the competition faced are shown in the following table.

Route Launch date WF Competition (WF)
Seoul Incheon – Bangkok 18 August 2009 7 Asiana (11), Jin Air (7), Korean Air (21), Thai Airways (14), T’Way Air (7)
Seoul Incheon – Fukuoka 30 March 2012 7 Asiana (21), Korean Air (21), T’Way Air (14)
Seoul Incheon – Ho Chi Minh City 5 April 2012 7 Asiana (14), Korean Air (14), Vietnam Airlines (7)
Seoul Incheon – Hong Kong 27 October 2010 7 Asiana (24), Cathay Pacific (28), Jin Air (5), Korean Air (28), Thai Airways (7)
Seoul Incheon – Kitakyushi 20 March 2009 3
Seoul Incheon – Manila 24 November 2010 7 Asiana (14), Cebu Pacific (14), Korean Air (18), Philippine Airlines (14)
Seoul Incheon – Nagoya 23 March 2012 7 ANA (7), Asiana (14), Korean Air (14)
Seoul Incheon – Osaka Kansai 20 March 2009 7 ANA (7), Asiana (21), Eastar Jet (14), Korean Air (21)
Seoul Gimpo – Nagoya 29 March 2010 7
Seoul Gimpo – Osaka Kansai 27 November 2009 7 Asiana (14), JAL (14), Korean Air (14)
Busan – Bangkok 30 June 2011 7 Korean Air (7)
Busan – Hong Kong 2 May 2011 3 Air Busan (3), Dragonair(7), Korean Air (7)
Jeju – Osaka Kansai 22 June 2011 3 Korean Air (7)
Source: Jeju Air and OAG Maxdata for w/c 2 April 2012. WF: Weekly frequency

According to the airline’s website, flights to Kitakyushu appear to end as of 22 April, while frequency on the Jeju to Osaka Kansai route increases to five per week from 28 April.


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