T’way Air expects to further grow its fleet in 2024 – including adding more widebodies – as its operations surpass pre-pandemic levels.

The South Korean low-cost operator outlined plans to take seven more aircraft in 2024, bringing its operational fleet to nearly 40 aircraft.

T'Way 737 Max 8 JPEG

Source: AerCap

T’way’s first 737 Max 8

The disclosure comes as T’way saw improvements in its third-quarter earnings, swinging to an operating profit of W33.5 billion ($25.7 million) from a W32.6 billion loss in the year-ago period.

On a nine-month basis, T’way states that its revenue - at W810 billion - has far surpassed the full-year revenue in pre-pandemic 2019.

The carrier attributes the improvement to “bold investments and preemptive measures” undertaken amid the pandemic, when travel demand collapsed amid restrictions. These measures included introducing for the first time widebody operations.

The carrier adds: “Factors contributing to the increase in performance include diversification of routes through mid- to long-distance operations such as Incheon-Sydney, Singapore, Bishkek, and Ulaanbaatar after the introduction of the [Airbus] A330 large aircraft [in 2022].”

“[Profits] have also improved because of route differentiation [sales strategies] compared to [other low-cost operators]”, says T’way.

The airline is the country’s second largest low-cost carrier by passenger traffic, and it hopes to become the largest operator. Traffic data from South Korean regulators shows the airline’s passenger volumes in the first 10 months of 2023 about 25% higher than passenger numbers in the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.

T’way adds: “[Through] thorough preparations and bold implementation to prepare for the future, we are continuing the fastest growth in the industry…We expect to continue growing next year through efficient equipment operation and route strategies.”