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.
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