Air Premia will enter the Seoul-New York market in May, providing competition for incumbents Asiana Airlines and Korean Air.
The long-haul route will become the South Korean hybrid carrier’s second to the U.S. alongside flights to Los Angeles, which launched in October 2022 and operate five times per week at the present time.
Service between Seoul Incheon (ICN) and New York Newark (EWR) will start on May 22, running 4X-weekly aboard Air Premia’s fleet of three Boeing 787-9s. It will be the sole service to connect Seoul and Newark, given both Asiana and Korean Air fly to New York John F. Kennedy (JFK).
Air Premia was founded by Kim Jong-Chul, a former Jeju Air president, and commenced operations in August 2021. The airline’s 787-9s are configured in a two-class cabin, with 56 premium economy seats and 253 in economy.
In a statement, the airline says the New York flights are expected to “further reduce the cost burden for travelers amid forecasts of an increase in air ticket prices as travel demand surges.”
Data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser shows that Korean Air provides a double-daily service between ICN and JFK using a mix of 777-300ERs, 747-8s and Airbus A380s, while Asiana offers daily flights with A350-900s. Asiana also plans to increase service to 10X-weekly in May.
In total, the two carriers collectively offer 13,400 two-way weekly seats between the cities during the week commencing March 13—down by about 12% on 2019 levels. However, capacity will swell to 16,500 seats in May once Asiana increases frequencies.
Air Premia’s entrance to the market will therefore add a further 2,500 weekly seats. This will take overall capacity between Seoul and New York to more than 19,000 weekly seats—25% higher than before the pandemic.
For Air Premia, New York will become the fifth destination in its network and its furthest route at 11,074 km (5,979 nm). The other destinations served by the airline are Ho Chi Minh City, Los Angeles, Singapore Changi and Tokyo Narita.
Speaking last September, Air Premia CEO Yoo Myung-sub said the carrier hopes to be operating 10 787-9s by 2025 and will “aggressively” increase its long-haul network. Routes to Frankfurt, Paris and San Francisco are understood to be under review.