This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 8/29/2019






2019 (est.)
Total Market Size7,8595,4366,7327,404
Total Local Production5,1173,9694,7145,329
Total Exports2,5422,0862,6172,781
Total Imports5,2843,5534,6354,856
        Source: Korea Aerospace Industries Association (KAIA). Unit: $ millions.
According to trade figures provided by Korea International Trade Association, Korea is the 11th largest market for U.S. aerospace exports in 2018.  In 2018, total U.S. aerospace exports to Korea exceeded $3.34 billion (including aerospace products in the defense sector).  U.S. aerospace sales constituted about 69 percent of Korea’s total aerospace imports in 2018. 
Over 98 percent of the total aerospace imports to Korea are for commercial and defense aircraft and their parts and components. Of this, 71 percent of Korea’s aircraft, parts and component imports were from the U.S. in 2018. 
 201720182019 (est.)
AircraftWhole platform8141,2956302,1558232,062
Space parts1931208217309262
      Source: Korea Aerospace Industries Association (KAIA). Unit: $ millions.
Major Local Players
Korea’s aerospace industry is driven by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI: ) and Korean Air, one of the largest commercial airliners in Korea.  KAI and Korean Air are also the leading companies which make and assemble parts for Boeing and Airbus.  KAI and Korean Air are active in developing indigenous aircraft including UAVs, rotor-wings, and fixed wings.  In 2008, KAI introduced its first non-military private aircraft, ‘Naraon’, making Korea the 28th nation in the world to build and fly an indigenous plane.  In 2015, KAI won the KF-X project - Korea’s next generation fighter jets.  The Korean government will invest $17 billion in the KF-X program until 2025. Korean Air is active in providing MRO services for both commercial and defense aircraft.
There is a cluster of Korean small and medium sized aerospace companies in the Gyeongnam area comprising what is known as the Korean Aerospace Valley.  The companies within this aerospace valley focus on supplying parts and components to KAI and KAL as well as exporting. Gyeongnam Export Support Corps for Aero-parts (GESCA: supports Korean aerospace companies and actively cooperates with foreign aerospace companies for both imports and exports.
Commercial Airliners
Korean Air is the largest passenger and cargo carrier company in Korea and is one of the largest consumers of aircraft, equipment, components, and various aerospace services.  It also serves as one of the major exporters of aerospace parts and components.  Asiana Airlines is the second largest airline in Korea and currently operates more than 80 aircrafts.  In addition, there are six major Low Cost Carriers (LCC): Jeju Air, Jin Air, Air Busan, Eastar Jet, T’Way Air and Air Seoul.  Three new LCCs have also obtained operation license from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport: Aero-K, Fly Gangwon, and Air Premia. 
LCCs in Korea have continuously increased its operating fleets: 119 fleets in 2017, 144 fleets in 2018, and 167 fleets are expected by the end of 2019.  LCCs primarily operate B737 and A320 platforms, but will adopt B737MAX and A320NEO this year to expand their routes.  LCCs boasted an impressive annual sales revenue growth of 40 percent during the past five years, and they are expected to maintain rapid growth for the next few years.  According to statistics provided by the Korea Airport Corporation in February 2019, the LCC share of domestic air travel in Korea was projected to be 40% for international air travel.  Market share of LCCs is expected to continue to increase because of their aggressive expansion of routes to nearby international cities.
Korea has two state-owned airport companies: Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) and Korea Airport Corporation (KAC).  IIAC is the nation’s largest and maintains its primary international airport in Incheon City.  Incheon Airport was voted the top in ‘airport service/quality’ for ten years in a row.  It has also won the highest score in the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) category by the Airports Council International (ACI), which consists of 1,700 airports around the world.  KAC operates a total of 14 airports in Korea (Gimpo, Gimhae, Jeju, Daegu, Ulsan, Chungju, Muahn, Kwangju, Yeosu, Pohang, Yangyang, Sacheon, Kunsan, and Wonju), of which seven have international status with routes mainly to China and Japan. 


Best Products/Services

- Aircrafts and aircraft upgrades
- Radar/surveillance devices
- Avionics
- Parts and components and MRO


Top U.S. aerospace exports to Korea include: complete commercial aircraft, commercial aircraft engines, equipment and parts, and military aircraft and their parts and componentsThe U.S. continues to be the dominant foreign supplier of aerospace/defense products and services, with a dominant import market share.  This trend is projected to continue for several years due to the tremendous growth of LCCs in Korea and Korea’s recent decision to purchase next generation fighters (40 F-35s) and other defense aircraft.  This is expected to result in increasing demand on MRO services in the future and as related to these aircraft models.
Although small in quantity, Korea’s space market also presents opportunities for foreign suppliers especially in satellite launching services, high-tech sensors and optical devices for the payload systems.
All U.S. aerospace exports are duty-free as of March 15, 2012 due to the Korean-U.S.FTA (KORUS).


Trade Shows
Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition 2019 (Seoul Air Show 2019)
15 - 20, 2019 -

Key Contacts
Korea Aerospace Industries Association (KAIA) –
Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) – of National Defense (MND) -
Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning (MSIP) –
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) –
Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) –
Korea Airport Corporation (KAC) –

Local Contact

Ms. Sunny Park
Commercial Specialist
Commercial Service Korea
U.S. Embassy
188 Sejong-daero,
Seoul 03141 Korea

Tel: 82-2-397-4164

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South Korea Aerospace and Defense Trade Development and Promotion