Air Premia To ‘Aggressively’ Expand Long-Haul Network Following LAX Launch

The South Korean LCC is looking to compete against Korean Air and Asiana Airlines in long-haul markets using Boeing 787-9s.

Credit: Air Premia

Air Premia plans to rapidly increase the number of long-haul routes it serves over the coming years in line with the delivery of nine more Boeing 787-9 aircraft on order, according to the airline’s CEO.

Speaking at a press conference to confirm the carrier’s first transpacific service will connect Seoul Incheon (ICN) and Los Angeles (LAX) from Oct. 29, Yoo Myung-sub said the LCC aims to grow sale to about KRW860 billion ($615 million) within five years through the expansion of its international network. Revenues this year are expected to be about KRW80 billion.

“By 2025, we plan to secure a total of 10 Dreamliners and aggressively increase long-distance routes,” he said. “It will become an airline that travelers are satisfied with and come back to again.”

Air Premia commenced commercial operations in August 2021, initially operating domestic flights between Seoul Gimpo (GMP) and Jeju (CJU). It now serves Seoul Incheon-Singapore (SIN) four times per week using its one 787-9, as well as providing charter flights to Ankara Esenboga (ESB) in Turkey.

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A new scheduled route between Seoul Incheon and Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) will start on Oct. 6, operating four times per week, with Los Angeles flights due to begin before the end of the month. The US city is expected to be served up to 5X-weekly although reservations have not yet opened.

Geum Chang-hyeon, head of Air Premia’s passenger business division, said the airline expects to have three 787-9s in operation by the end of the year, with the remaining seven on order to be delivered over the next two years.

“We will continue to expand long-distance routes such as the Americas and Europe to meet the demand of customers,” he added. Routes to Frankfurt, New York, Paris and San Francisco are under review.

Air Premia will provide new competition for Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, which have traditionally dominated long-haul service from South Korea. OAG Schedules Analyser data shows that both Korean Air Asiana Airlines offer double-daily flights on the 9,622-km (5,196-nm) route between Seoul Incheon and Los Angeles.

Philippine Airlines also provides 2X-weekly outbound flights from ICN to LAX on a route the originates in Manila (MNL). 

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