Eastar Jet Co., a South Korean low-cost carrier, announced on Tuesday that it will be restarting services on routes to Tokyo and Osaka in September, after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The budget airline will be providing one flight per day on the Incheon-Tokyo route and two flights a day on the Incheon-Osaka route from September 20th. Additionally, starting September 2nd, the carrier will offer three flights a week on the route from Gimpo to Songshan in Taiwan.
Eastar Jet had suspended most of its flights on domestic and international routes since March 24, 2020, when it received an air operator certificate (AOC) from the transport ministry. The AOC became ineffective in May that year.
The carrier operated 23 B737-800s to serve a total of 38 domestic and international routes before the pandemic hit the airline industry three years ago. It plans to increase the number of its chartered planes to 10 by the end of this year, with three B737-800s and one B737-8 being added in the second half depending on travel demand.
Eastar applied for court receivership in January 2021, as it had failed to find a strategic investor since July 2020, when Jeju Air Co., the country’s biggest budget carrier, scrapped its plan to acquire Eastar amid the pandemic. In 2021, local property developer Sung Jung Co. acquired the entire stake in Eastar and injected 112 billion won into the carrier. VIG Partners, a local private equity fund, took over the stake and injected 110 billion won into the carrier in January this year.
Eastar Jet aims to achieve 146 billion won in sales this year. It reported 551 billion won in sales in 2019 before the pandemic broke out.