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Korean Air to phase out superjumbo jets within decade

All News 11:18 August 20, 2021

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Aug. 20 (Yonhap) -- Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's largest carrier, will retire its four-engine passenger aircraft within the next 10 years to shift its business model to smaller jets for long-haul flights, company officials said Friday.

Korean Air plans to phase out its Airbus A380s within the next five years and Boeing 747-8I fleets within the decade, CEO Cho Won-tae said in an interview with FlightGlobal. Company officials confirmed the report.

Korean Air currently operates 10 A380-800s and 10 B747-8is, while Asiana Airlines has six A380-800s, which have been mostly grounded since March 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Korean Air aims to launch a merged entity with Asiana in 2024 after completing a takeover process by next year, with regulatory processes currently underway.

The A380 and B747 have mostly flown on long-haul routes, but airlines are gradually turning to two-engine aircraft that can transport a large number of passengers at competitive costs, including Airbus' A350 or Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

The full-service carrier is one of the major airlines that plans to retire the full-length, double-decker aircraft, which is popular with air travelers but considered too large for current demand in the pandemic era.

Korean Air's A380 passenger jet takes off in this file photo provided by the full-service carrier on Feb. 19, 2021. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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