Air Premia (YP, Seoul Incheon) has taken delivery of its first aircraft, a B787-9, as it slowly works through its certification and hopes to launch services to South-East Asia later this year.

HL8387 (msn 66407) is the first of three B787-9s Air Premia will take on dry-lease from Air Lease Corporation. After its hand over, the start-up ferried the aircraft from Everett to Seoul Incheon over the course of April 1-2, 2021. The ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows the other two B787-9s due for Air Premia are currently stored at Victorville and Charleston, SC, respectively. Their deliveries have been slated to take place before year-end.

The South Korean boutique start-up originally planned to accept its first B787-9 back in mid-2020. The delayed delivery threatened the carrier's certification, as its business licence was due to expire on March 5, 2021. However, in February, the Korean authorities extended its validity to give Air Premia more time to complete its licencing gauntlet and launch. Air Premia has been unable to obtain its Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) until now as it requires at least one of its proposed aircraft to carry out proving flights.

South Korean online newspaper New Daily reported that the carrier was hoping to begin operations later this year, initially targeting South-East Asian countries such as Thailand and Viet Nam.

Air Premia recently secured a significant financial boost after private equity firm JC & Partners, together with Cochina, a Hong Kong-based logistics company, bought a 68.9% stake and pledged to inject KRW65 billion won (USD52.5 million) into it. So far, the new owners have disbursed an initial tranch of KRW10 billion (USD8.8 million). The ownership change also prompted the replacement of former CEO Kim Se-Young with Sim Joo-Yeop.