Korean Air takes its first A380; Airbus predicts new orders at Paris Air Show

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Published: May 25, 2011

Korean Air A380. Photo: Courtesy, Airbus.

Korean Air on Tuesday took delivery of its first Airbus A380 in a Toulouse ceremony. It will become the first Asian carrier to operate a GP7200-powered A380.

KE, which became the sixth airline to take delivery of the A380, has 10 on order “which should [all] be delivered by 2014,” KE Chairman Yang Ho Cho confirmed during the delivery ceremony. There are currently 20 GP7200-powered A380s in service, with 104 on order, according to Engine Alliance. The carrier is slated to begin operating its A380, which will be the 49th total to enter service, next month.

KE will initially operate the aircraft from Seoul Incheon to destinations in Asia, first to Tokyo Narita and Bangkok. That will be followed later this year by service to North America (either Los Angeles or New York JFK) and Europe (either Paris Charles de Gaulle or Frankfurt).

Meanwhile, Airbus CEO Tom Enders told ATW following the ceremony that he expects 20-25 A380s to be produced this year, adding that the production line is functioning smoothly. Regarding new orders, he said, “In general, we will see more orders from Middle- and East Asia, including follow-up orders from existing customers.”

Airbus COO-Customers John Leahy told this website, “I’m expecting to announce a new A380 customer at the Paris Air Show” next month. He added that the aircraft is performing well for airlines. Pointing to Emirates as an example, he noted that “every new A380 it takes immediately [attracts] additional premium traffic.”

Typically, A380s seat about 525 passengers in a three-class layout, but KE specified a spacious layout with seating for 407 passengers in three classes. The KE A380 includes special features such as a duty-free showcase area and an upper deck bar and lounge for premium passengers.

KE will take delivery of four more A380s in 2011, one in 2012, two in 2013 and two 2014.

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