Air Premia (YP, Seoul Incheon) has said it will start operating its long-planned service to Los Angeles Int'l, its first intercontinental route, in May amid plans to expand its Dreamliner fleet to ten aircraft over the next two years.

Its announcement came on January 12, the same day that the US Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an order finalising its award of a Foreign Air Carrier Permit (FACP) to Air Premia authorising it to engage in scheduled or charter air transportation of persons, property, and mail from points behind South Korea via South Korea and intermediate points to any points in the United States and beyond.

The long-haul hybrid carrier also said on January 12 that it was commencing a service to Ho Chi Minh City, its second international route after Singapore Changi, but it acknowledged that, as with the first international route, it would initially have to carry cargo only on the 3x weekly flights from Seoul Incheon.

Air Premia pledged that as soon as Covid-related travel restrictions ease, it will “actively transport passengers” to its international destinations.

“Since July of last year, the licensing process has been carried out and preparations for service to America have been pursued step by step. We are also accelerating the introduction of aircraft. We will secure up to four B787-9 aircraft this year and will expand the fleet to ten by 2024,” the statement said.

Myeong Seop Yoo, who was appointed as chief executive last month, added: “By breaking away from the two extremes of cheap but inconvenient and convenient but expensive, we will provide comfort that anyone can enjoy at a reasonable price.”

Air Premia partnered with French air cargo services agent ESG Group in November to offset low demand in the passenger business amid the prolonged pandemic. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, it currently operates 309-seat B787-9 HL8387 (msn 66407) courtesy of Air Lease Corporation with two more to be delivered. Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows that HL8387 flew from Seoul to Singapore on January 7 and returned in the early hours of the following day, then flew to Ho Chi Minh City for the first time on January 12, again returning in the early hours of the following day.

Editorial Comment: Added para on DOT FACP - 14.01.2022 - 08:39 UTC