South Korea's transport ministry said Monday it will permit Fly Gangwon, the country's seventh low-cost carrier, to begin operations next month, a move that could further heat up competition in South Korea's aviation market.
An air operator certificate to be issued to Fly Gangwon on Tuesday will allow the carrier to offer two flights a day on the Yangyang-Jeju route beginning in November, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement.
"The aviation authorities will closely monitor the new airline's flight preparations, pilot schedules, airplane repairs
and maintenance, and others during the first month of operations," a ministry official said.
The authorities will conduct a comprehensive safety check on Fly Gangwon's planes and flight programs six months after it starts operations, he said.
Fly Gangwon will operate two 737-800 jets on the Yangyang-Jeju route this year and bring in five more 737-800 chartered planes next year to serve routes to Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia, a company spokesman said.
The budget carrier's route plans are subject to approval from the transport ministry.
Fly Gangwon is headquartered in Yangyang, Gangwon Province, about 220 kilometers east of Seoul.
Currently, South Korea has six low-cost passenger carriers--Jeju Air Co., Jin Air Co., Air Busan Co., Air Seoul Inc., Eastar Jet and T'way Airlines. (Yonhap)