Jeju Air is expected to set a milestone in terms of the number of cumulative passengers, as it will soon pass the 20-million mark.
It has carried a total of 19.33 million passengers so far on 146,000 flights since it first flew from Gimpo to Jeju on June 5, 2006, the budget carrier's CEO Choi Kyu-nam said at a press conference on Monday.
"It is expected to become the nation's first low-budget carrier to hit the 20-million mark in passenger numbers sometime in the third quarter of this year. It hopes to achieve another milestone by posting W500 billion in sales (US$1=W1,023)," Choi added.
Choi also revealed on Monday the carrier's goal of firmly establishing itself as one of the nation’s three major airlines. When it launched in 2006, it had only a single jet, which it operated five times a day to carry up to 370 passengers. It has since grown 45-fold and now operates 89.5 flights on domestic and international routes with a total passenger capacity of 16,700 people as of last month.
In the first quarter of this year, Jeju Air accounted for 13.4 percent of domestic flights, trailing Korean Air (28 percent) and Asiana Airlines (23 percent). For international flights among domestic airlines, it also ranked third with a 4.7 percent share.
It will begin flying between Daegu and Jeju on July 3, bringing the total number of regular routes to 15 in 12 cities spread over six countries. It became the nation's first budget carrier to achieve the W400-billion mark in sales last year.