Jin Air will start flying to Hawaii from December, making it the first South Korean low cost carrier to add longhaul international flights to its shorter services.
The airline, which began operations in 2008 and is affiliated with Korean Air, will use a 355-seat Boeing 777-200ER on the route, flying between Incheon International Airport and Honolulu five times a week.
Analysts anticipate that more of South Korea’s budget carriers will apply to operate longhaul routes.
“Hawaii is primarily a leisure destination and bargain prices are popular on that sort of route,” Geoffrey Tudor, an analyst at Japan Aviation Management Research, told TTG Asia e-daily.
“And as a subsidiary of Korean Air, that will give the parent airline the opportunity to focus on operating to destinations that are more expensive.
“We are seeing this trend of diversification emerging in the industry and it permits a parent airline to offer a wider range of products,” Tudor said.
Jin Air presently operates two domestic routes and 16 international flights to 20 cities in eight countries, including Bangkok, Manila and Hong Kong, but it is already planning to add eight more international flights from Busan and two from Incheon, the carrier said.
To keep up with demand, the airline is introducing a further two Boeing 777-200ERs to its fleet, along with four smaller Boeings designed to operate shorter routes. That will give Jin Air a total of 19 aircraft.