Air Busan Introduces New Booking System
By Do Je-hae
Ahead of the March opening of services to Japanese cities, Air Busan introduced Wednesday upgraded reservation services through its new Web site, airbusan.com.
The low-budget affiliate of Asiana will launch connections to Fukuoka and Osaka, as part of its first international services this year.
The selection of the two Japanese cities demonstrates the Busan-based carrier's dedication to facilitate travel between the two countries with cheaper and faster access, according to CEO Kim Soo-cheon.
In particular, a supranational project to join the economies of Busan and its 20-year sister city of Fukuoka will spur additional passenger demand, Kim stressed in a press conference in October 2009.
"Busan and Fukuoka already share a long history of economic and cultural cooperation. The common economic zone project has created an urgency to increase flight connections," Kim said.
It takes about 50 minutes by air to cover the 208 kilometers between the two cities. Fares will cost from 150,000 to 170,000 won, 30 percent lower than major air carriers. On-board duty-free shopping will be available.
Going international is one of the airline's main strategies to lift itself out of the red and start seeing profits in 2011. It is expecting around 1 billion won (US$857,000) in annual revenue from the new routes.
The airline is also opening a new call center at 1666-3050.
The number "3050" is taken from the "3050 shuttle" ― the name of the route the airline has been running from Busan to Gimpo International Airport in Seoul.
On the airline's signature route, flights depart every 30 minutes from Seoul and every 50 minutes from Busan.
Since it was launched on March 29, 2009, the service has become increasingly popular, taking up 42 percent of the domestic market share for Seoul-Busan services.
Since 2008, the airline has been operating five aircrafts for domestic connections to Gimpo and Jeju.
It code-shares with Asiana Airlines, making it possible for passengers on Air Busan to collect Asiana mileage.
Air Busan will launch the Busan-Fukuoka route on March 29 and the Busan-Osaka route on April 26. Both routes will operate once a day.