Several foreign budget carriers are setting their sights on South Korea as the country’s low-cost air travel market is expected to continue to grow considerably, industry sources said Sunday.
Japanese low-fare airline Jetstar Japan has recently decided to offer flights to South Korea and China and conducted a field study of Gimhae International Airport on the outskirts of Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city, according to the sources.
Singapore’s budget carrier Tiger Airways is reportedly considering making an investment in Yearim Co., a South Korean publishing company that has acquired T’way Air.
In addition, foreign budget carriers, which currently fly to South Korea, are moving to expand their routes and flights, the sources said. Currently, six foreign carriers, including Star Flyer Inc. of Japan, offer flights to South Korea.
The moves come as the number of passengers on their routes to South Korea has increased at a fast pace.
“Despite an economic slump, the South Korean air travel market is growing rapidly,” an industry watcher said. “Given that, more
foreign budget carriers are expected to tap the local market.”
Last year, a combined 1.18 million air travelers used the six foreign budget carriers to travel to and from South Korea, up a whopping 51.3 percent from the previous year and accounting for 2.5 percent of the country’s total international air traffic.
South Korea’s international air passenger traffic reached 47.7 million in 2012, up 11.9 percent from a year earlier, according to government data. (Yonhap News)