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Korean Air seals order for 33 Airbus A350s
Procurement of next-generation, eco-friendly aircraft aligns with flag carrier’s sustainability efforts
Tom King 5 Apr 2024

Korean Air has finalized the order of 33 Airbus A350 widebody jets valued at US$13.7 billion. The deal includes 27 A350-1000s and six A350-900s.

South Korea’s flag carrier says the order will supplement its long-term fleet operations as it gradually retires its older aircraft, adding that procurement of next-generation, eco-friendly A350s is aligned with its sustainability efforts.

The move is also seen as preparation for the integration of Asiana Airlines, which Korean Air aims to fully complete this year, a move Korean Air chairman and chief executive officer Walter Cho says will establish Korean Air as a “megacarrier”.

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

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

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

Aside from the 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 says it will continue to prioritize fleet modernization and reduction of carbon emissions through the operation of new aircraft and other sustainability activities such as the use of sustainable aviation fuel.

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