Asiana Airlines is the last major operator of the iconic Boeing 747-400 or “Jumbo Jet” in the Asia-Pacific region.
South Korean carrier Asiana Airlines only has one last 747-400 in active service, which it plans to retire in 2024. Currently, this aircraft operates exclusively between the airline’s hub at the airport Seoul Incheon and the airport Narita in Tokyo under the names OZ102 and OZ101, five times a week. In the future, based on the airline’s latest schedule updates, Asiana plans to fly the 747-400 to Osaka from the end of October, as well as around Taipei from March 1, before its planned retirement later next year.
Asiana’s 747-400s once had a cabin first class in the nose of the aircraft and this was retained on the last aircraft in service. The old first class seats are however no longer sold as such. Instead, they are now labeled “Royal Business seats” and are often available for extra charge. Sometimes, on flights where regular business class is fully booked, these seats can be pre-booked free of charge; at other times they may be available when you check in at the airport.
In the past, before upgrading its fleet with Airbus A350s, the airline operated its fleet of 747-400s on its longest routes, including the non-stop route between Seoul Incheon and New York JFK.
Star Alliance member Asiana also has six more ‘superjumbos’ Airbus A380 in its current fleet, which it plans to continue to fly until 2026. During the next winter schedule which begins at the end of October, these flights will serve Los Angeles (up to twice a day), Narita, Sydney and Bangkok.
Furthermore, there are now serious uncertainties as to whether the merger airline with Korean Air will proceed as planned. Various antitrust authorities (in Europe and the United States) blocked the transaction and Asiana’s creditors, including the Korea Development Bankt (KDB), are reportedly looking for new suitors for the airline. The KDB is even reportedly quietly looking for a buyer to offload heavily indebted Asiana Airlines, into which it and other creditors have invested 2.4 trillion won in emergency financing over the past few years. There unprofitability Asiana has always been a problem, and the airline was deep in the red even before the pandemic, but when Covid hit, losses exploded for the 10,000-employee company.