LONDON – South Korea’s Jeju Air will fly a cargo aircraft for the first time among local LCCs to overtake the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jeju Air plans to add a cargo aircraft in the first half of this year “to offset a sharply declined passenger travel demand amid the pandemic,” the company said in a statement.
The announcement comes after South Korea saw a surge in the number of domestic flights in 2021, up by 18.9% year on year to an average of 719 flights per day, Cirium shows.
It’s not clear if the airline will convert one of its narrowbodies planes to a preighter or it will adopt a new aircraft type.
Jeju Air currently operates a fleet of 38 Boeing 737-800 jets and offers flights on 10 domestic routes and one weekly flight on six international routes to Bangkok, Guam, Saipan, Harbin, Weihai, and Tokyo.
The low-cost carrier also plans to add up to 50 Boeing 737-8 MAX jets to its fleet between 2023 and 2027.
Korean Air Lines and Asiana Airlines, the country’s two biggest and full-service carriers, have focused on cargo deals to compensate for lower travel demand.
In December the South Korean low-cost carrier Air Premia entered the air cargo market with international flights to Singapore, Vietnam, and Los Angeles.
The carrier signed a general sales agent (GSA) agreement with ECS Group, also GSA for CMA CGM Air Cargo.