DALLAS – Today in Aviation, South Korean low-cost carrier (LCC) Air Seoul (RS) commenced operations in 2016.
A four-times daily domestic link from Seoul’s Gimpo International (GMP) bound for Jeju International Airport (CJU) became the airline’s inaugural route.
Despite holding a minority shareholding in LCC, Air Busan (BX), South Korea’s second-largest carrier, Asiana Airlines (OZ), had previously ignored the growing presence of LCC’s at its Seoul hub.
In April 2015, OZ announced it would establish a subsidiary to compete with these new carriers. Authorities gave Air Seoul the go-ahead on December 28, 2015.
However, safety concerns following the crash of an Asiana Boeing 777 at San Francisco (SFO) on July 6, 2013, led to RS’s launch being delayed. Finally, on July 5, 2016, its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) was granted.
Based at Seoul-Incheon International Airport (ICN), the airline started life with a single Airbus A321 (HL8255) handed over from its parent. Further airframes followed, and RS currently has five of the type in its fleet.
Asiana Airlines also began to transfer several unprofitable routes to its new subsidiary. This included 12 former Japanese routes from October 2016, giving RS its first international destinations.
In September 2018, RS became the first Korean LCC to offer a designated lavatory onboard its fleet exclusively for female passengers. It said this was due to the high proportion of women who travel with the carrier for leisure purposes.
Following the announcement in 2020 that Asiana would be merged with Korean Air (KE), it was revealed that both carriers’ low-cost subsidiaries, RS, BX, and Jin Air (LJ), would also be merged into a single airline.