South Korean LCC Jeju Air has taken delivery of its first Boeing 737-800 ordered directly from the manufacturer, adding to the carrier’s existing fleet of leased 737s.

Jeju ordered a total of three -800s from Boeing. The manufacturer said the airline will be the first of Korea’s LCCs to own and operate a 737-800, although rivals such as Jin Air, T’Way Airlines and Eastar Jet also lease this type.

The arrival of the new 737 “marks the beginning of a new era for Jeju Air” as they will play “an integral role in our growth strategy,” said airline CEO Seok-Joo Lee. “Owning and operating our own airplanes will further differentiate Jeju Air and our local competitors.” According to the Korea Herald, two of the 737s have been financed by the Export-Import Bank of Korea.

Jeju currently operates 34 leased 737-800s, with an average age of 12.1 years, according to the Aviation Week Intelligence Network’s fleet database. These aircraft are configured with 186-189 seats. Jeju’s network includes 40 domestic and international routes to Southeast Asia, China and Japan.

Adrian Schofield, adrian.schofield@informa.com