Korean Air will raise the airfares for all of its domestic flights from July 18, the first time it has done so in eight years. Aisana Airlines and low-cost carriers are expected to follow suit.
The nation's largest carrier will increase its economy-class airfares by 6 percent on weekdays, 12 percent on weekends and 15 percent during busy seasons.
Surcharges and upgrades will also become dearer. Currently, business-class passengers pay an extra W40,000 (US$1=W1,158) for the privilege, but this will grow to W60,000, resulting in an average increase of 26 percent for business-class tickets.
Under the revised pricing policy, an economy-class ticket for a one-way flight between Gimpo and Jeju will climb from W73,400 to W82,000 on weekdays, and from W92,900 to W107,000 on weekends and busy seasons. Business-class seats will cost an extra W28,600 on weekdays, taking the price to W142,000.
"We decided to raise our airfares in the second half of this year, but we are keeping the hike as low as possible to minimize the burden on household budgets in accordance with government polices," Korean Air said.
Asiana Airlines and low-cost airlines are also expected to make fliers fork out more.
"Large airlines have so far decided against increasing their domestic airfares despite their deficits to ward off the threat posed by low-cost airlines," an executive at a budget carrier said. "Korean Air's decision will provide momentum for us to increase our airfares and breathe easy again."
Korean Air said it has no "immediate plan to increase" its international airfares.