SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) — Aero K Airlines Co. on Thursday began regular flights with an A320ceo aircraft as South Korea’s eighth low-cost carrier.

Aero K began services on a domestic route between Cheongju, 140 kilometers south of Seoul, and Jeju Island, with a plan to expand flights to Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, Japan and Vietnam, the company said in a statement.

The budget carrier has leased three A320ceo passenger jets from U.S.-based aviation investment manager Carlyle Aviation Partners Ltd.

“We are currently operating one A320 aircraft and considering receiving the remaining two after July, depending on market conditions,” a company spokesman said.

 It took more than five years for Aero K to fly its first commercial flight due to issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and tougher competition with other local budget carriers, independent or part of full-service carriers.

South Korea has two full-service carriers — Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc. — and seven budget carriers — Jeju Air, Jin Air, Air Busan Co., Air Seoul Inc., Eastar Jet, T’way and Fly Gangwon.

This file photo provided by Airbus shows the A320ceo aircraft. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)