Jin Air opens more flight routes to Japan, China

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Jin Air opens more flight routes to Japan, China

Jin Air, a low-cost carrier (LCC) run by Korean Air, set a goal of posting more than 300 billion won ($266 million) of revenue this year by expanding into international flight routes with new airplanes, said Ma Won, President and CEO of Jin Air yesterday.

The new CEO of Jin Air, tapped in January this year, held the first press conference at Namsanwon, Jung-gu, central Seoul yesterday to announce its plans to bring in two B737-800 airplanes in July and October.

“Although the business environment has not been so favorable recently, due to the intensifying competition with foreign LCC companies, depreciation of the yen and North Korea risks, we plan to continue growth through the management strategy of differentiating services with employees and pioneering new international flight routes,” Ma said.

The new B737-800 will fly the Nagasaki, Japan route three times a week from July and another will fly to Sendai, Japan and Weihai, China starting in October.

With the two new planes, the company will own a total of 11 airplanes.

Currently, no local airlines service the Seoul-Nagasaki route. Korean Air recently suspended its twice-weekly flight to Nagasaki.

“We decided that it would be more profitable to operate flights to Nagasaki and Sendai instead of to Narita International Airport, since we have confirmed growing demand from Nagasaki and Sendai to Korea.

Although the overall demand from Japan is influenced by the falling value of the yen, demand from Korea to Japan has increased,” the CEO said.

“In the case of Sendai, due to its proximity to Fukushima, demand from Korea is very low.

However, 70 percent of the demand comes from Japan.”

As such, Jin Air is developing and operating its own routes instead of choosing existing lines that several airline companies fiercely compete over.

Existing routes that are operated by different airlines already have an advantage of stability, but on the other hand, there are also concerns of profitability due to excessive competition.

In fact, Jin Air’s new route to Vientiane, Laos launched last year has evaluated as a success.

As there had not been a nonstop route to Vientiane, it not only contributed to the expansion of travel demand to Laos, but also saw high profitability by avoiding excessive competition.

By Kim Jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]
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