Aero K (RF, Cheong Ju) plans to launch operations in the third quarter of 2019, subject to the securing of an operating licence and an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC), founder and director Mike Kang told Air Transport World.

The Korean LCC is currently in the process of obtaining a licence from the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs (MLTMA). The authorities rejected the carrier's initial application in 2017 citing overcapacity on the market. Aero K subsequently reapplied in November 2018, when the government opened a new round.

The airline has more than the required USD50 million capital, Kang said.

Aero K has three A320-200s on order directly with Airbus. It committed to the aircraft prior to its originally planned 2017 launch. The carrier intends to finance the three units through a sale-and-leaseback agreement. At launch, it plans to operate only these three aircraft.

Going forward, the airline has also reportedly committed to a further five aircraft from the manufacturer and plans to take additional A320s from lessors.

Aero K intends to base its aircraft out of Cheong Ju, an airport in central South Korea some 120 kilometres south of Seoul. Cheong Ju currently has no base airline and sees scheduled flights predominantly to Jeh. The airport is the nearest gateway to Sejong, a planned city which is South Korea's administrative capital. Initially, Aero K plans to focus on international flights to Japan, later Taiwan and mainland China, and then to Viet Nam.