Eastar Jet, a South Korean low-cost carrier, said Thursday it will strengthen services on international routes to absorb growing low-cost air travel demand.
On Thursday, Eastar Jet began services on the Incheon-Da Nang route, with a plan to start services on the Incheon-Sapporo route from July 1, the budget carrier said in a statement.
The airline currently operates flights on 25 international routes which connect South Korea to eight countries -- Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia and Saipan which belongs to the US, a company spokesman said.
It has 17 chartered airplanes composed of 14 B737-800 jets with 189 seats and three 149-seat B737-700 jets, he said.
In 2016, the country's six budget carriers -- Jin Air, Jeju Air, Air Busan Co., Air Seoul Inc., Eastar Jet and T'way Air Co. -- transported 56.8 percent of passengers on domestic routes and 19.6 percent of passengers traveling abroad. The figures were up from 54.6 percent and 14.6 percent a year earlier, respectively, according to the transport ministry.
Jin Air is the budget carrier unit of the national flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. and Air Busan and Air Seoul are low-cost carrier units of Asiana Airlines Inc., the country's second-biggest carrier by sales.
Last year, passengers on domestic routes jumped 11 percent on-year to 30.91 million and passengers on international routes climbed 19 percent to 73 million, the ministry said. (Yonhap)