Korean Air awaits first A380; now serves 15 airports in Japan and 20 in China

Image: Rice Cake
The Big 4-0: Korean Air CEO, Yang Ho Cho and executives serve, or rather shovel up a traditional dish of warm rice, sautéed vegetables & chilli pepper paste (known to the locals as “Bibimbap”). The meal is also served onboard (we assume in more respectable sized-portions)

Original SkyTeam member Korean Air celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and during that time has carried close to 500 million passengers. From its impressive base at Seoul’s Incheon airport it serves 88 destinations non-stop with its fleet of 100 passenger aircraft. During the first quarter of 2009 international capacity (ASKs) was up 1.3% but traffic (RPKs) was down 3.1%. As a result average load factor fell from 71.6% to 68.4%.

Image: ShizuokaSince the beginning of 2008 the airline has added new non-stop flights from Incheon to Milan, Mudanjiang (China), Sao Paulo, Shizuoka, Tel Aviv and Xian (China). The airline’s network is particularly strong to China, Japan and the USA.

According to the airline’s latest financial report for the first quarter of 2009 32% of passenger revenues come on routes to and from the Americas, 17% on routes to Japan, 13% from both European and South-east Asian routes and just 9% from its Chinese routes. Domestic routes and routes to Oceania (Australia, New Zealand etc) each contribute a further 8% to revenues.

Chart: Korean Air destinations by region
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 6 July 2009

In terms of where revenue is generated the airline has seen a sharp decline in the share of revenue generated in Korea which has fallen from 63% in 2008 Q1 to 42% a year later. However, revenue from Japan is up from 8% to 18% of total, while revenue generated in the Americas is up from 14% to 19%. The exchange rate with the Japanese Yen has apparently been a major factor in this shift of revenue source.

Image: Inchion to Sapporo route
It’s been 20 years since Korean Air began Incheon-Sapporo services.

10 US destinations served non-stop

Korean Air offers non-stop flights to 10 US airports, six of which are served at least daily. There are daily flights to Atlanta, Honolulu, Washington Dulles and Chicago O’Hare while Los Angeles and New York JFK are served twice-daily. Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Seattle are currently served with between three and five weekly frequencies.

The airline currently serves 11 destinations in Europe with non-stop flights. These are Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Milan Malpensa, Moscow, Paris, Prague, Rome, St Petersburg and Vienna. Flights to Munich have recently ended. Madrid and Zurich are served via Amsterdam and Vienna respectively, though the return flights are non-stop.

A380 will join fleet later this year

The airline’s current fleet of 100 passenger aircraft comprise 29 737s, eight A300s, 19 A330s, 22 777s and 22 747-400s. Orders for 10 A380s and 10 787s have been placed with the first A380 due for delivery later this year. The 787s are expected to be delivered between 2011 and 2014. Orders for additional A330s, 777s and 737s have also been placed.

Image: British Taxi
This summer Korean Air has launched an “ambient marketing campaign” in London to boost UK sales. 30 ‘full liveried’ London taxis and a further 200 ‘super-sided’ London taxis will deliver a striking image of Korean Air’s “Network Feather” which includes ten cities easily reachable by UK passengers flying with Korean Air via Incheon (Seoul) international airport.


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