Aero K, Korea’s newest ultra low-cost carrier, has received an air operator certificate from the country’s transport ministry. 

The approval will allow Aero K to operate domestic and international services from its hub in Cheongju, a city 110 km south of Seoul, according to Aerotime Hub.

Compared to Seoul, the carrier will benefit from Cheongju’s lower costs and 24-hour operations, reported Routesonline. A dedicated terminal for the budget carrier is also in the works.

Aero K currently has one Airbus A320 and plans to operate domestic routes such as Cheongju-Jeju, before starting regional flights to “underserved” destinations across China, Japan, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

“Aero K offers a completely different strategy, strongly focused on cost efficiency, safety and training and will consistently apply modern and digital processes,” said Peter Oncken, managing director at Intro Aviation, which owns a minority stake in the airline, according to Routesonline. 

“We have no legacies, the company is well capitalised, and it will start consistently as a low-cost carrier in the market.”

Its launch comes during a time of consolidation for the local airline industry, with Korean Air acquiring rival Asiana Airlines to form a mega carrier.

Low-cost competitor Jeju Air has also received a 32.1 billion won ($29 million) injection from the government to stay afloat, reported the Korean Herald.

Earlier this year, Aero K unveiled gender-neutral uniforms to symbolise a progressive corporate philosophy, in a stark contrast to traditional airlines, according to the Korean Herald.