Category Archives: Korean Air

Korean Air issues its tentative financial results for first quarter 2022

Korean Air issued this financial report:

Korean Air aircraft photo gallery:

Korean Air welcomes customers back with aircraft cleaning, celebrates 50 years of flying to the United States

Korean Air Boeing 747-8B5 HL7631 (msn 40906) (2016-2018 Visit Korea Year) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 957345.

Korean Air held an aircraft cleaning event at the airline’s hangar at Seoul Incheon International Airport on April 18.

While the airline regularly performs aircraft cleaning, today’s event is more symbolic for Korean Air as it gets ready to welcome customers who have been waiting to travel abroad once again.

Korean Air thoroughly cleaned one of its Boeing 747-8i, a wide-body jet usually deployed on long-haul routes, removing dust and foreign particles.

Aircraft cleaning is carried out part by part (fuselage, landing gears, wings, engines, etc.) using special equipment that disperses water, cleaning fluid, and/or steam.

The fuselage is cleaned by first spraying water to remove dust from the surface, then having workers carefully remove dust and pollutants with cleaning fluid and special tools, and finally by re-applying high-pressure water to remove any remaining fluid. The jet engines are sprayed with high-pressure water to remove dust, and the spray/drying process is repeated several times. To clean the exterior of the aircraft including the fuselage, a high place operation car, three lift cars, and three water service trucks are required.

The water used during cleaning is collected to be disposed properly in order to prevent environmental pollution.

Cleaning the engine helps lower the exhaust gas temperature by 2℃ and improve fuel efficiency, reducing carbon emissions by 190 tons per year.

Korean Air is making efforts to return its operations to pre-pandemic levels following the rebound in air travel demand. In line with the government’s plan to reopen international routes, the airline plans to gradually restore suspended routes and flights while it meticulously prepares for increased operations and enhanced levels of customer service.

In other news, Korean Air today is celebrating its 50th anniversary serving the Americas.

On this date 50 years ago, a Korean Air Boeing 707 took off from Seoul Gimpo Airport, making stops in Tokyo and Honolulu before landing in Los Angeles. Korean Air’s inaugural passenger flight from Seoul to Los Angeles marked the beginning of the central role the airline would play in fostering economic and cultural relations between Korea and the U.S.

On this special occasion, Korean Air received a proclamation from the city of Los Angeles for its economic contributions.

50 years of contribution to the transpacific market

Since the launch of its first U.S. route, Korean Air has grown into one of the largest transpacific airlines.

The airline began by serving only two cities in the U.S. – Honolulu and Los Angeles. It now flies out of 13 gateways across North America with its Americas headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. While the airline carried about 43,800 passengers between the U.S. and Seoul in 1972, it flew over 3 million passengers between the U.S. and Korea in 2019 (pre-COVID).

The flying time has also been reduced to 11 hours from 17 hours on its nonstop flight. The airline initially used a 171-seater Boeing 707 on its first route to the U.S, and it now operates the Boeing 787 and Boeing 777 on the Americas routes.

Supporting the U.S. economy for 50 years

For the past 50 years, Korean Air has contributed greatly to the U.S. economy by propelling economic, social and cultural exchange between the two countries through both its passenger and cargo network.

Approximately 11,000 direct and indirect jobs have been created in related businesses in the 13 cities served by the airline, adding about USD 110 million per year in added value through labor market and consumption.

Pre-COVID, approximately 1.11 million Koreans traveled on Korean Air flights to the U.S. annually, and they are estimated to have spent about USD 4 billion during their stay.

Dedicated cargo terminals in Los Angeles and at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport support cargo operations for both Korean Air and other airlines, serving as hubs in both the Eastern and Western United States.

The airline is estimated to have created 100,000 jobs, and to have generated an economic effect of USD 17 billion over the past half century.

As a global leading airline

Since the launch of its first U.S. route, Korean Air has grown into a major global airline serving 120 cities in 43 countries. The airline not only co-founded the SkyTeam Alliance together with Delta Air Lines, Aeroméxico and Air France in 2000, but also launched a transpacific joint venture with Delta Air Lines in 2018, connecting customers to more than 290 cities in the US and 80 points in Asia. Its transpacific joint venture is considered the industry’s most comprehensive.

“As a proud joint venture partner, we want to congratulate Korean Air on the significant milestone of connecting the U.S. and Korea for a half-century,” said Matteo Curcio, Vice President – Asia Pacific, Delta Air Lines. “We look forward to working together to seamlessly connect even more customers between the Americas and Asia via our Incheon hub for years to come.”

Korean Air continued to serve the U.S. throughout the pandemic, and the airline delivered thousands of tons of cargo such as e-commerce products, semiconductor parts, medical supplies and COVID test kits, fruits and vegetables, and K-pop-related items. The airline also launched two new gateways in the U.S. – Rickenbacker International Airport (Columbus, Ohio) and Chicago Rockford International Airport (Rockford, Illinois) – that have strengthened the airline’s cargo transpacific network and helped alleviate some of the U.S. supply chain issues.

Top Copyright Photo: Korean Air Boeing 747-8B5 HL7631 (msn 40906) (2016-2018 Visit Korea Year) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 957345.

Korean Air aircraft slide show:

Korean Air aircraft photo gallery:

Korean Air introduces its first Boeing 737-8 MAX 8

Korean Air announced that its first Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 was delivered to Incheon Airport on February 13, 2022.

The newly introduced Boeing 737-8 is scheduled to begin operations from March 1, 2022 after undergoing standard safety procedures such as an airworthiness test.

Kicking off with its first delivery of the 737-8, Korean Air is slated to receive a total of six aircraft this year. In November 2015, Korean Air signed an agreement to acquire 30 737-8s.

The 737-8 is a next-gen, eco-friendly aircraft with superior efficiency, reliability and operational capabilities. Powered by the latest CFM International LEAP-1B high-tech engines, the fleet also features the split-scimitar winglets that reduce aerodynamic drag and decrease necessary fuel amounts by 1.8%. These new advanced technology winglets are manufactured by Korean Air’s Aerospace Division and supplied to Boeing.

The aircraft can operate on 15% less fuel compared to similar aircraft, lowering per-seat operating costs by 12%. Carbon emissions will also be reduced by 13% compared to the Boeing 737 Next Generation.

The cabin is equipped with the Boeing Sky Interior, which offers customers a roomy and comfortable space with its streamlined ceiling and overhead bins. The LED lighting system also allows for lighting to be adjusted to match phases of the flight for better ambience.

Korean Air offers a total of 146 seats, including 8 in Prestige class and 138 in economy class on its new model.

Since 2019, the 737-8 has obtained airworthiness from 188 countries, after its various safety devices and software systems were strengthened through thorough inspection and upgrades. A total of 36 airlines around the world, including American, United and Singapore, operate the 737-8.

The 737-8 has demonstrated high operational reliability, with a 99.38% on-time performance over the 898,737 flight hours logged so far.

No other news, Korean Air will participate in hydrogen fuel infrastructure development:

In preparing for the future of carbon-neutral aviation, Korean Air has embarked on a project to pioneer the Korean hydrogen fuel infrastructure.

On February 9th, Korean Air signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC), Airbus, and Air Liquide to cooperate on supplying aviation hydrogen fuel and developing relevant infrastructure.

The event, which took place at IIAC’s Headquarters in Incheon, was attended by Soo Keun Lee (Executive Vice President and Chief Safety & Operation Officer, Korean Air), Hyoung-Wook Jeon (Vice President of Infrastructure Division, IIAC), Fabrice Espinosa (President, Airbus Korea), and Guillaume Cottet (President and Representative Director, Air Liquide Korea).

The MOU is aligned with Airbus’ aim to develop the world’s first zero-emission hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft by 2035, and confirms Korean Air as an active participant in welcoming this alternative energy paradigm shift.

The MOU paves way for the stakeholders to actively cooperate in various fields, from developing hydrogen infrastructure at airports, establishing a roadmap for introducing hydrogen, to ground handling logistics.

Korean Air will focus its expertise on overall operational activities, including ground handling planning, maintenance and flight operations, and IIAC on research and development of airport facilities. Airbus and Air Liquide will analyze domestic demand for hydrogen-powered aircraft, and establish a roadmap for the introduction of hydrogen fuel, respectively.

At the 2021 International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Boston, member airlines have approved a resolution for the global air transport industry to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Korean Air, as an industry leader, is poised to apply various carbon reduction measures in its operations.

Last year, Korean Air signed an MOU with Hyundai Oilbank to manufacture and promote the application of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and also partnered with SK Energy to purchase carbon-neutral jet fuel to be used on the Korean domestic network. In addition, the airline’s introduction of Airbus A220-300 to its fleet will reduce carbon emission per seat by 25% compared to existing models of similar capacity, demonstrating its commitment to environmental awareness.

As a pioneer in the global aviation industry, Korean Air plans to proactively respond to climate change. The airline is committed to various means of carbon emissions reduction to achieve carbon neutrality, and also to the successful development of the Korean domestic hydrogen energy sector.

Above Photo: (From left to right) Guillaume Cottet (President and Representative Director, Air Liquide Korea), Fabrice Espinosa (President, Airbus Korea), Hyoung-Wook Jeon (Vice President of Infrastructure Division, IIAC), Soo Keun Lee (Executive Vice President and Chief Safety & Operation Officer, Korean Air).

Is Korean Air planning to change its livery?

Korean Air Boeing 777-300 ER HL7205 (msn 60379) ZRH (Andi Hiltl). Image: 956577.

Korean Air is rumored to be preparing to rebrand for the planed Asiana merger. The company has reportedly applied for a new simplified logo trademark which implies a reduction of fuselage colors in a new livery.

The current powder blue top and silver livery (Taegeuk design) (top) was introduced on March 1, 1984 when the airline name was formally changed from Korean Air Lines to Korean Air.

The 1984 livery was initially introduced on its MD-80s and Boeing 747-300s. It was designed with the help of Boeing.

Since then the easily-recognized livery has helped the flag carrier grow around the world.

The red and blue spiral logo represents the opposing forces of nature.

Top Copyright Photo: Korean Air Boeing 777-300 ER HL7205 (msn 60379) ZRH (Andi Hiltl). Image: 956577.

Korean Air aircraft slide show:

Korean Air aircraft photo gallery:


Korean Air plans to retire its Airbus A380s in five years and Boeing 747-8s in 10 years

Korean Air Airbus A380-861 HL7619 (msn 096) LHR (SPA). Image: 954739.

Korean Air’s Airbus A380 fleet is mostly parked since the entire fleet was grounded on March 9, 2020 due to COVID-19. At least one aircraft appears to be operating currently. The airline hopes to get the full A380 fleet back in the air when the traffic returns.

The CEO in an interview with FlightGlobal stated the ultimate goal is to retire the 10 A380-800s by 2026.


Additionally the 10 Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental aircraft should also be retired by 2031.

The carrier is adding new Boeing 787 Dreamliners to replace these two types.

On a related subject, the airline previously made this announcement about its Boeing 747-400s:

Korean Air has recently commenced a joint research project with Seoul National University, which was commissioned by the Republic of Korea Air Force, to develop the feasibility of using large commercial aircraft for air launching.

As part of the joint research, Korean Air will analyze the Boeing 747-400’s current technology capability, major technology to be applied, annual operating costs, and necessary aircraft modification for air launching. The airline will further explore ways to commercialize the modified aircraft in the market.

Until now, it was not possible to develop projectiles that launch in the air due to the Korea-U.S. “guidelines” that restricted the range of Korea’s ballistic-missiles. However, with the termination of these regulations in May 2021, the development and operation of an air launch system is now possible.

This research is especially meaningful as air launching capabilities will help Korea to overcome its geographical limitations. Currently, satellites can only be launched southward from Naro Space Center, Korea’s spaceport located in the southwest province. However, air launch vehicles can be launched in various directions and routes. Air launch vehicles are launched at altitudes of 12 km, making them less affected by weather conditions, which are a common drawback of ground launches.

In addition, air launching cuts the cost of building and maintaining a site to launch vehicles. There is also the possibility to generate revenues by providing services to other countries that do not have their own launch site.

For this reason, some countries have already been utilizing commercial aircraft for air launches. LauncherOne, an orbital launch vehicle developed by Virgin Orbit in the U.S, was successfully launched using a modified Boeing 747-400 in January and June 2021.

While the military, government and companies scramble to announce plans to utilize small satellite constellations in the “new space age,” an environment to launch small satellites in Korea has not been established yet. Therefore, it is inevitable to use overseas projectiles, which take more than two years on average from the signing of the contract to the actual launch. This is the reason why the development of air launching capabilities must be prioritized.

“To attract the fast-growing, worldwide demand for small satellite launches, it is essential to develop capabilities for air launching, which is not affected by weather or geographical conditions,” said Korean Air. “We will use our extensive experience operating aircraft and expertise in the aerospace business, which includes aircraft system integration and assembling Korea’s first space launch vehicle, Naro, to develop an air launch system that is competitive in the global market.”

Top Copyright Photo: Korean Air Airbus A380-861 HL7619 (msn 096) LHR (SPA). Image: 954739.

Korean Air aircraft slide show:


Korean Air operates 10,000 cargo-only passenger flights

Korean Air has operated 10,000 cargo-only passenger flights as of August 1. The airline launched its first cargo-only passenger flight on the Incheon-Ho Chi Minh route in March 2020, and has operated these flights on 65 routes to North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, China and Japan, transporting 400,000 tons worldwide. Approximately 40 tons are transported per round trip (20 tons one-way).

After most flights were suspended following the COVID-19 outbreak, Korean Air began operating cargo-only passenger aircraft. Beginning with 38 of these flights in March last year, the airline currently operates more than 800 cargo-only flights a month.

Through close cooperation with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and aircraft manufacturers, Korean Air has increased its cargo capacity by utilizing overhead bin space, using “cargo seat bags,” a safety device that can load cargo on passenger seats, and removing seats to enable cargo floor loading.

Korean Air is also actively responding to emergency pandemic related demands, and the cargo-only flights are mainly transporting pandemic relief goods such as COVID-19 diagnostic kits, protective clothing and masks. More than 100 cargo-only aircraft were deployed to India, where COVID-19 cases were soaring, to transport pandemic relief supplies, and a charter flight was operated to deliver COVID-19 diagnostic kits to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, U.S, in April 2020. Korean Air is currently transporting pandemic related supplies to Indonesia, Singapore, Germany and Canada.

In the process of transporting pandemic relief products, Korean Air recorded its longest-distance flight – cargo flight KE8047, which flew 13,405 km for a duration of 14 hours and 42 minutes from Incheon Airport to Miami Airport (U.S.) on June 12, 2021. To meet urgent demand, the airline continues to increase its capacity even if it means flying on new routes.

Cargo-only flights have also been contributing to resolving recent logistics challenges faced by many companies struggling due to shipping supply shortages. Korean Air has increased its cargo capacity to support urgent export and import logistics by maximizing its flight operations through using available passenger aircraft. While the airline’s cargo volume transported using passenger aircraft sharply dropped to 16,000 tons per month right after the COVID-19 outbreak, from 2021, this number has recovered to more than 40,000 tons per month, close to pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, Korean Air is actively supporting logistics for small- and medium-sized consignors. Last year, the airline operated charter flights for small- and medium-sized companies exporting goods to Indonesia and Japan in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and Korea International Trade Association. The carrier has also secured space for small- and medium-sized companies on regular cargo flights bound for Los Angeles, U.S this year.

Korean Air to delay its takeover and merger of Asiana Airlines to 2024

Korean Air is now planning to acquire Asiana Airlines in 2022 and fully merge both companies during 2024 pending worldwide approvals.

This will make Korean Air the seventh largest airline in the world when completed.

Korean Air is awaiting approval from reported seven countries due to antitrust concerns.

Once completed, the Asiana brand will be retired.

Asiana Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Asiana Airlines aircraft slide show:

Korean Air is working with UNICEF for global COVID-19 vaccine transport

Korean Air has made this announcement:

One of the world’s largest air freight companies, Korean Air, has signed an agreement with UNICEF for global transportation of COVID-19 vaccine and medical equipment.

UNICEF is responsible for the global supply of vaccines as part of its effort for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The plan is to provide around 145 countries with vaccines in the first half of the year.

Cooperation from airlines like Korean Air with global supply chains, capabilities and expertise is essential to transporting the vaccines around the world. UNICEF has selected 16 airlines, including Korean Air, to work with based on strict standards such as a global network, cargo capacity and experience shipping specialized cargo such as medical items.

Last September, Korean Air launched a task force to ensure that vaccines could be safely transported by the airline considering the unique requirements for temperature and storage. Some types require temperatures as low as -60 degrees Celsius, refrigeration below -20 degrees Celsius, or temperature maintenance between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.

With the signing of the agreement with UNICEF, Korean Air will continue its leadership role in transporting COVID-19 vaccines and medical supplies. The airline is committed to participate in these humanitarian and relief shipments as long as necessary.

UNICEF is a United Nations agency established in 1946 to provide aid to children around the world. As the world’s largest medical distribution organization, UNICEF has procured and distributed more than 2 billion vaccines, medicines and medical supplies annually worldwide for the past 20 years.


On the financial side, Korean Air posted an operating profit of 109 billion won ($97.55 million) in 2020, as cargo sales helped offset a slump in passenger travel on the back of coronavirus restrictions according to Reuters.

Korean Air to acquire ailing Asiana Airlines for $1.6 billion

Korean Air has announced it will acquire rival Asiana Airlines for 1.8 trillion ($1.6 billion). It will create the world’s 10th largest airline by fleet size.

Read more from The Korea Herald.

Asiana Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Korean Air’s flight suspensions and reductions

Korean Air has updated its list of flight suspensions and reductions due to COVID-19:

Due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Korean Air has reduced or suspended some of its routes.

For help with rescheduling, please contact a Korean Air Service Center or the travel agency through which the flights were booked.

Overview of Suspended/Reduced Routes (as of Nov 6 07:00 GMT)

※ Please be reminded that flight schedules and routes are subject to change.

Please click on the button below for the detailed list of cancelled/reduced flights.

Flight Cancel Details
Suspended or Reduced Routes

(All routes are between Incheon unless otherwise noted)

Americas Honolulu, Narita-Honolulu, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Boston, Washington, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Vancouver, Toronto
Europe Paris, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Vienna, Zurich, Zagreb, Prague, Budapest, Milan, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Istanbul, Tel Aviv
Middle East Dubai
CIS Moscow, Vladivostok, St Petersburg, Irkutsk, Tashkent
South & Southeast Asia Bangkok, Busan-Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Busan-Da Nang, Dalat, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Manila, Cebu, Phnom Penh, Yangon, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Denpasar Bali, Kathmandu, Delhi, Mumbai, Colombo/Male(Maldives), Guam
Oceania Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland
Northeast Asia Ulaanbaatar, Beijing, Gimpo-Beijing, Busan-Beijing, Jeju-Beijing, Tianjin, Xi’an, Zhengzhou, Shanghai/Pudong, Gimpo-Shanghai, Busan-Shanghai/Pudong, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Hefei, Wuhan, Xiamen, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Changsha, Kunming, Zhangjiajie, Shenyang, Daegu-Shenyang, Dalian, Yanji, Mudanjiang, Qingdao, Busan-Qingdao, Jinan, Weihai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Busan-Taipei, Narita, Busan-Narita, Haneda, Gimpo-Haneda, Osaka, Gimpo-Osaka, Fukuoka, Busan-Fukuoka, Nagoya, Busan-Nagoya, Sapporo, Okinawa, Aomori, Niigata, Komatsu, Kagoshima, Okayama
Domestic Gimpo-Busan, Gimpo-Ulsan, Busan-Jeju, Gwangju-Jeju, Cheongju-Jeju, Daegu-Jeju, Gunsan-Jeju, Wonju-Jeju, Yeosu-Jeju, Ulsan-Jeju, Jinju(Sacheon)-Jeju, Pohang-Jeju, Gimpo-Yeosu, Gimpo-Jinju(Sacheon), Incheon-Busan, Incheon-Daegu

Korean Air aircraft photo gallery: