South Korean start-up airline Air Premia conducted its first commercial service with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner on August 11, 2021, the latest low-cost carrier to enter the South Korean aviation market. 

Air Premia’s first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registered as HL8387, took off from Seoul Gimpo International Airport (GMP) at 6.30 AM local time and touched down at Jeju International Airport (CJU) just over an hour later, marking its first-ever commercial flight.

The airline received its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Air Lease Corporation (ALC) in March 2021, which was initially supposed to fly to destinations such as Australia and the United States. However, due to the global health crisis, the airline was forced to postpone  its international plans and focus on domestic routes instead. Now, the airline expects to launch service between Seoul and Los Angeles in early 2022. 

Currently, Air Premia has only one Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in its fleet, as per Planespotters.net data. However, the airline is planning on leasing two additional Boeing 787 Dreamliners from ALC as well as acquiring five more 787s from Boeing. 

“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,” CEO of Air Premia, Peter Sim said. “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.”  

The airline was founded in July 2017 by a former Jeju Air president, Kim Jong-Chul and secured an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) four years later. Now, the start-up airline is based at Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN) and will compete with  low-cost rivals such as Asiana Airlines and Jeju Air.