The first ATR operator in South Korea, Hi Air, will soon commence operations with two ATR 72-500 aircraft.
The new Korean carrier is backed by the nation’s leading transportation company, High Global Group. Hi Air plans to grow its ATR fleet to 10 aircraft by 2023, at the rate of two new aircraft each year.
The Hi Air aircraft sale was performed by Skyworld Aviation and Papa Golf Aviation, which saw the sale to the new carrier of two aircraft previously operated by Air Tahiti. The aircraft with Sl Nos (862 and 806) were delivered on 5th April and 8th July 2019 respectively.
Scheduled services will commence from Ulsan, Gimpo, and Yeosu once domestic / international service certificates are in place. Hi Air, has ambitious plans to cover 76 domestic and international routes by 2023.
Flights to Japan and China, will commence in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Further expansion on Chinese routes will take place in 2022. Hi Air plans to operate flights to island airports, such as Heuksan Island, Ulleungdo, etc after 2023.
South Korea has plans to construct new island airports such as that on the island of Illeungdo and another on the island of Baekryeongdo. The runways on these island airports will be only be 1200m in length and hence be accessible only to turboprop aircraft.
The 50-seat ATR 42-600 and 70-seat ATR 72-600 are now joined by the new ATR 42-600S, which is optimised for take-off and landing on runways as short as 800 meters. This new Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) variant of the ATR 42, offers 50 seats at the same operating costs as 30-seat aircraft and customer deliveries begin in 2022.
ATR views South Korea to be well suited for commercial turboprops, which are ideal for connecting second and third-tier cities. ATR’s turboprops will also help operators in launching new air services connecting Korean cities to points in southern Japan and to cities in northeast China.
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