Korean Air has taken delivery of its first Airbus A380 at a ceremony at the Airbus final-assembly plant at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport.
The ceremony was attended by Korean Air Chairman and CEO Yang Ho Cho and hosted by Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders. Louis Gallois, the CEO of Airbus’ parent company EADS, was also present at the event.
Korean Air is the sixth airline to take delivery of an Airbus A380 and has ordered a total of 10 aircraft. It will initially operate the A380 from its Seoul hub to selected destinations in Asia, followed by non-stop flights to North America and Europe.
According to Airbus, Korean Air has specified an extra-spacious cabin layout for its A380 fleet, with accommodation for just 407 passengers in three classes. Korean Air will be the first Airbus A380 customer to dedicate the entire upper deck of the aircraft to business-class passengers, the upper decks of the airline’s A380s featuring 94 lie-flat Prestige Class seats.
Special features on board the aircraft include what Airbus claims is the world’s first ever duty-free showcase area (with a dedicated cabin crew member on hand to assist and advise passengers with their shopping) and an onboard bar and lounge on the upper deck for premium-class passengers.
“Korean Air was the first airline to purchase an Airbus aircraft outside Europe and they have now become an essential part of our fleet,” Yang Ho Cho said at the delivery ceremony. “The exceptional, fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly A380 that is being delivered today is perfect to assist Korean Air in advancing our goal of becoming a respected, leading global carrier.”
The A380’s quieter cabin and smooth ride have made the aircraft a favorite with passengers, resulting in higher than average load factors and increased profitability on A380 flights. This has provided airlines with a competitive advantage wherever they operate the type.
Typically seating 525 passengers in a three-class layout, the A380 is capable of flying 8,300 nautical miles (15,300 kilometers). This enables non-stop service with a full payload from Seoul to any destination in Europe, and as far afield as the East Coast of the United States.
Korean Air has chosen the Engine Alliance GP7200 engine to power its Airbus A380s and will be the first Asian carrier to operate the GP7200.
To date the GP7200 engine has been selected to power 56 per cent of all A380s ordered and for which engine selection has been made. This is largely as a result of Emirates having chosen the GP7200 for its A380 fleet, since the Dubai-based airline is by far the biggest customer for the Airbus super-jumbo, having ordered a total of 90 A380s.
There are 20 GP7200-powered A380s in service and 104 more on order. In addition to Emirates and Korean Air, Air France also operates GP7200-powered A380s. Etihad Airways and Air Austral have also chosen GP7200 engines for their A380 fleets.
The Engine Alliance is a 50/50 joint venture of General Electric and Pratt & Whitney. The GP7200 is the result of innovations to the combined technologies of GE’s and P&W’s respective GE90 and PW4000 widebody engines. The GP7200 is certified at 76,500 pounds (340 kN) of thrust and has the capability to produce more than 81,500 pounds (363 kN). Its emissions are well below current and anticipated regulations.
GP7200 engine-program participants include SNECMA (France), Techspace Aero (Belgium) and MTU Aero Engines (Germany).