Network and service set Asiana apart from LCCs: CEO

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Asiana Airlines believes that the strength of its international network and its high service levels set it apart from the growing number of low-cost carriers (LCCs) competing in the South Korean market.

The Star Alliance carrier's chief executive Yoon Young-Doo says that, in particular, the foreign LCCs such as the Philippines-based Cebu Pacific, Malaysian carrier AirAsia X and All Nippon Airways-backed Peach Aviation have reduced its market share.

He adds that those carriers have been "trying to concentrate on the [South] Korean market very aggressively".

"Now their market share would be around 15%, but will go up over time like the European and US markets," says Yoon.

Asiana also competes with South Korean-based LCCs, including Jeju Air, Korean Air Lines' Jin Air subsidiary, T'Way Air and Eastar Jet, which operate on a mix of domestic and international routes.

Nevertheless, Yoon says that Asiana has the advantage of a larger network that is able to cater for a wider range of passengers through its efficient hub at Seoul Incheon International Airport.

"Our domestic and foreign LCCs have a limited capacity when thinking about the capability to have a global network," says Yoon. "Those LCCs can do 3-5h flights from [South] Korea."

Asiana also believes that its strong focus on service gives it another major advantage over the budget carriers.

"We are able to maintain our competitiveness through efficient management and by providing the highest quality of service for our passengers, which sets us apart from both LCCs and other legacy carriers," says Yoon.

Asiana competes directly in the budget market through its low-cost subsidiary Air Busan. Based at Busan's Gimhae International Airport, the airline flies to nine destinations in China, Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines with a mixed fleet of nine Airbus A320s/A321s and Boeing 737s.