South Korean largest budget airline aims to enter the cargo business and launch new international routes.

During a recent press event in Seoul, Jeju Air CEO Kim E-bae stated the moves would create a business turnaround next year as quarantine measures are eased.

"We will prepare for a leap forward by making full use of our core competencies, such as cost competitiveness, and advance into new fields such as short and medium-distance routes and cargo transportation,” Kim was quoted saying by a report on The Korea Times.

To start its cargo business, Jeju Air will introduce the Boeing 737-800BCF – a remodel of the Boeing 737-800 passenger aircaft for cargo operations - to its fleet from this month.

To facilitate the growth of its international network, Jeju Air will gradually replace its fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft to newer Boeing 737 MAX 8 (737-8) aircraft starting next year. Areas the airline is eying for new routes include Central Asia, Indonesia, and Mongolia.

Jeju Air previously ordered 40 of the 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing.

Compared to the current fleet of Boeing 737-800s, the -8 will provide an increase in range by more than 1000km, a 14% reduction in fuel use, and a 12% reduction in operating cost per seat.

Current Operations

During the month of June, Jeju Air will operate a total of 246 flights on 19 international routes including services from Seoul-Incheon to Bangkok, Bohol, Nha Trang, and Kota Kinabalu. Compared to the previous month (May), the number of routes increased from 8 to 19, and the number of flights increased from 152.

“There is a need for more openness to Japan and China in the future," Kim said. "However, I believe most international routes will be normalized by the second half of next year."

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