Korea's LCCs looking for new source of profitsUpdated: 2014-08-04 22:42:00 (KST)
( & Stand-up )
"Competition in the budget airline market is becoming fierce in Asia, and Korea is no exception. That's why low-cost carriers are looking for a new source of profits and launching long-haul flight services may be an answer for some like Jin Air."
The low-cost subsidiary of Korean Air is gearing up to offer non-stop flights to Hawaii next year.
Budget airlines going long distances-- is still a difficult nut to crack but Jin Air's Senior Vice President of PR Emily Cho says it's all about putting passengers at ease over safety issues.
"Of course, before we can convince them, we have to make sure our services are ready to deal with long-haul as well.
Our pilots need 1,000 hours of previous experience to even apply to Jin Air, which is the same as Korea Air. That shows how much dedicated we are to safety record."
Jin Air opened its doors for business in 2008 and it took two years before it began operating in the black.
All five low-cost carriers in Korea as of last year are making profits -- testimony to the continuing boom of the LCC market in Korea but there's a catch.
"Southwest, or JetBlue, in the U.S. -- the main reason why they are able to grow this big is that they are using the minor airports because of cheaper airport fees.
But all the airlines are focused between Incheon Airport and Gimpo Airport in Seoul. In China and Japan, because the population itself is big enough, there's a lot larger pool of those maintenance people or flight attendants"
In order to survive in this very tough market, Cho says Jin Air needs to make its name more known to potential customers overseas.
"The Korean airlines have very good reputation among the Chinese people. And we're hoping to, kind of bond with them emotionally first so that they want to come to us first, instead of us coming to them."
The competition in this market will only get worse and successfully launching flights to Hawaii will be key in locking down sustainable growth for Jin Air.
Laah Hyun-kyung, Arirang News
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