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Korean Air Favors Airbus With Order For 33 New A350s

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  • 3 min read

Korean Air has announced a deal with Airbus to buy 33 state-of-the-art A350 family aircraft. The deal, which includes 27 A350-1000s and six A350-900s, is valued at USD 13.7 billion.

Modernizing the Fleet

The order will supplement the airline’s long-term fleet operations as it gradually retires its older aircraft. Procuring the next-generation, eco-friendly A350 aligns with the airline’s sustainability efforts. It will also help Korean Air prepare for the upcoming integration of Asiana Airlines.

About the Korean Air A350-1000

The A350-1000 is the largest in the A350 family and can accommodate 350 to 410 passengers in a standard three-class configuration. The aircraft uses advanced composite materials, resulting in a reduction in fuel consumption and carbon emissions of up to 25% compared to similarly sized previous-generation aircraft models.

With the longest flight range among existing passenger aircraft, the A350-1000 can operate up to 16,000km with full payload.

About the Korean Air A350-900

The A350-900 variant is about 7 meters shorter than the A350-1000. It has a range of 15,370km and typically seats 300-350 passengers in a three-class layout. The airline can deploy the aircraft on its long-haul routes, such as Seoul Incheon-New York, which operates two daily flights.

Korean Air Fleet Modernization Plans

Besides this agreement to purchase 33 A350s, Korean Air plans to introduce 50 Airbus A321neos, 10 Boeing 787-9s, 20 Boeing 787-10s, and 30 Boeing 737-8s. The airline will continue to prioritize fleet modernization and reduction of carbon emissions through the operation of new aircraft and other sustainability activities.

Korean Air Plans International Route Expansion

Korean Air will expand its international services in the summer of 2024, beginning March 31. The expansion includes the resumption of flights to four cities across China, Europe, and Southeast Asia and increased frequencies on key routes.

This will bring the airline’s international capacity to about 96% of the levels seen before the pandemic by available seat kilometers (ASK).

Resuming routes to Europe, China, and Southeast Asia

Due to high demand, Korean Air is set to resume flights on several routes in April.

The Seoul Incheon-Zurich route will have three weekly flights starting April 2.

Flights to Zhangjiajie, known for its UNESCO World Heritage status and its resemblance to the world of “Avatar,” are resuming on April 23 with three weekly flights.

On April 24, four weekly flights will depart for Zhengzhou, home to attractions like Taihangshan and the Shaolin Temple.

Finally, daily flights on the Busan-Bangkok route will resume on April 25 after a nearly four-year break.

Increasing flight frequencies on major routes

Korean Air is responding to a surge in demand by adding more flights to key destinations across Europe, Southeast Asia, and North America. The airline will add flight frequencies on the Seoul Incheon-Budapest route from three to four weekly flights. This responds to Budapest’s appeal as a tourist hotspot and its significance in manufacturing.

The airline will also boost its Seoul Incheon-Bangkok and Seoul Incheon-Manila routes to four and three daily flights, respectively. It has already increased the Seoul Incheon-Bali route to eleven weekly flights.

Furthermore, the Seoul Incheon-Dallas flights will be upgraded to a daily service to ensure better connectivity through the south-central U.S. hub.

Korean Air will keep adjusting its flight schedules to match seasonal demand changes, aiming to improve the customer experience.


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