South Korea startup Air Premia orders Boeing 787s with California in mind

Oct 30, 2019

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Air Premia, a new South Korean airline that plans to start service next year, has reached a deal to purchase five Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. That order follows a deal Air Premia reached earlier this year to lease three 787s from Air Lease Corporation.

The airline hopes to begin flying in 2020, operating a base at Seoul Incheon (ICN). Initially, Air Premia expects to fly regional routes within Asia. But Air Premia already has U.S. destinations on its radar, saying it hopes to begin flying from South Korea to both Los Angeles and San Jose in California “by 2021.”

“We are honored to welcome Air Premia as Boeing’s newest customer. As new entrants in Asia continue to launch innovative business models and strategies for growth, we are excited that Air Premia have selected the 787-9 Dreamliner to power their future fleet,” Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of commercial sales and marketing at Boeing, said in a statement. “The super-efficient 787-9 is a perfect fit for this new hybrid airline.”

The tentative commitment carries a list value of $1.4 billion, though airlines typically receive steeps discounts.

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Air Premia has not yet specified how it might outfit its 787-9s, which Boeing notes can seat 296 passengers in a “standard” configuration. The aircraft has a range of about 8,400 miles.  

“This is an exciting decision for Air Premia as we look to deliver a world-class experience to our customers, while also operating the most fuel efficient fleet,” Air Premia CEO Peter Sim added in the statement. “With the 787-9’s superior fuel efficiency and range capabilities, this investment fits perfectly with our unique business model and will position Air Premia for sustainable long-term growth.”

Though it’s unclear what the competitive landscape might look like by the time Air Premia begins U.S. service, there are currently two carriers — Korean Air and Asiana —that fly nonstop between Seoul and Los Angeles. No airlines currently fly nonstop between San Jose and Seoul.

Related: Behind the scenes: What it was like on Qantas’ 19-hour Project Sunrise flight

Featured image courtesy of Boeing.

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