Korean Air has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus and Boeing respectively to purchase a total of 17 aircraft. The deal includes eight A380s from Airbus, and seven B777s, and two B747-400ERFs from Boeing.
Korean Air said the new fleet investments are in line with the Korean government’s plans to make Seoul the logistics hub of Northeast Asia. The new aircraft investment is also part of Korean Air’s long-term strategy to simplify and modernize the fleet, which is already one of the youngest (average 6.4 years) in the industry.
As for the Airbus 555-seat A380, deliveries to Korean Air are scheduled to begin in late 2007. Out of eight A380, five are firm orders and three are options. A380 is a fuel-efficient super-jumbo jet being developed by Airbus and planned to be unveiled in 2006. Taking its first A380 into the fleet, Korean Air expects to strengthen its competitive edge by lowering the operating costs and competing effectively on the long-haul routes.
Seven Boeing 777s scheduled to be delivered to Korean Air will gradually replace the carrier’s B747-400 passenger aircraft from 2004, which will further Korean Air’s competitiveness through lower operating costs.
Separately, Korean Air was recently named Air Transport World (ATW) Cargo Airline of the Year for 2003 at an awards ceremony in Washington.
According to ATW officials, “Korean Air Cargo has been a top-ranked carrier on a commercial basis for many years. Now it has put together all the pieces needed to be considered a world-class operation.”
Korean Air has been a significant force in air cargo for more than 30 years. For the last decade the airline has been one of the top three combination freight carriers in the world.
Korean Air, with a fleet of 115 aircraft, is one of the world’s top 20 airlines and operates almost 400 passenger flights per day to 84 cities in 29 countries. Korean Air is a founding member of SkyTeam, the global airlines alliance -partnering AeroMexico, Air France, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines and Delta Air Lines- that provides customers with extensive worldwide destinations, flights and services.