buddy seat

Korean Air

Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. operating as Korean Air, is the national and largest airline of South Korea; its global headquarters are located in Seoul in Korea. Its international passenger division and related subsidiary cargo division together serve 130 cities in 45 countries, while its domestic division serves 20 destinations. It is among the top 20 airlines in the world airlines in terms of passengers carried. Incheon International Airport serves as Korean Air's international hub. Korean Air also maintains a satellite headquarters campus at Incheon International Airport, located 30 minutes away from South Korea's capital, Seoul.

Korean Air's main global headquarters campus and its Global Operations Center are located in Gangseo-gu in Seoul. Korean Air also maintains a domestic office campus at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul. Korean Air's lesser domestic superhubs are based at Jeju International Airport and Gimhae International Airport, Busan.. The maintenance facilities are located in Gimhae International Airport.


Korean Air was founded by the South Korean Government in 1962 as Korean Air Lines to replace Korean National Airlines (founded in 1948). On 1 March 1969 the Hanjin Transport Group took control of the fledgling airline. Long-haul freight operations were introduced on 26 April 1971 followed by passenger services to Los Angeles on 19 April 1972.

International flights to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Los Angeles were flown with Boeing 707s until the introduction of Boeing 747 in 1973. In 1973, KAL introduced Boeing 747s on their Pacific routes and started a European service to Paris using the 707 and DC-10. In 1975 KAL became one of Airbus's first Asian customers with the purchase of three A300s, which were put into immediate service on Asian routes.

A blue-top, silver and redesigned livery with a new corporate "Korean Air" logo featuring an accented, stylized "taegukki" design was introduced on 1 March 1984 and the airline's name changed to Korean Air from Korean Air Lines. This livery was introduced on its Fokker F28s. It was designed in cooperation between Korean Air and Boeing. In 1990s Korean Air became the first airline to use the new MD-11 to supplement its new fleet of Boeing 747-400s. However, MD-11 did not meet the set performance and they were converted to freighters (in addition to 747 freighters).

In 1998, an economic recession hit South Korea, which resulted in large reductions in flights and destinations. In 2000, South Korea recovered and Korean Air expanded its global destination network, adding gateways from its hub at Incheon International Airport.

Korean Air flies to the most US gateway destinations of any Asian carrier (14 cities in the 50 states and territories).

Korean Air owns 25% of Okay Airways, a Tianjin, PRC-based airline. As of 2007, Korean Air is in negotiations to open its China hub in Beijing or Shanghai by the end of 2008.

The airline has 16,623 employees (at March 2007). On June 5, 2007, Korean Air said that it would create a new low-cost carrier in Korea to compete with Korea's super-high speed railway network system named KTX which offers cheaper fares and less stringent security procedures. Korean Air's low-cost concept will fly Boeing 737s. Over 20 domestic destinations are planned to be part of the new domestic network.


From past to present: "Welcome to my World," "The Spirit of Korea is in the Air," 1990's: "Beyond your imagination," Current: "Excellence in Flight"

While "Welcome to my World" was in use, when the plane took off and landed, the plane would play Elvis Presley's song "Welcome to my World."


Charters for 2008

Korean Air will operate charter flights to the following destinations this summer:

Korean Air also fly charters to Kuwait for Korean troops serving in Iraq.



The Korean Air passenger fleet consists of the following aircraft as of February 2008:
Korean Air Fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers
Routes Notes
Airbus A300-600R 8 266 (24/242)
276 (24/252)
Domestic/International short-medium haul
Japan, China, Southeast Asia
To be phased out
Replacement aircraft: Boeing 787-8
KE subsidiary Jin Air will be likely to receive two of them or more.
Airbus A330-200 3 256 (6/18/232) International long haul
Egypt, Europe, Fiji, Vietnam, Australia
AVOD is not available
Airbus A330-300 16 296 (12/28/256)
296 (24/272)
352 (24/328)
International short-medium haul(Includes high-capacity short haul)
Australia(Includes Charter), Japan, China,
Mongolia, Southeast Asia and Middle East
AVOD is not available
In summer peak period or big holidays(such as Seol-nal) A330s operate domestic high-capacity routes.
Airbus A380-800 (8 orders) International long haul
North America, Europe
Entry into service: 2010
Replacing: Boeing 747-400
Boeing 737-700 (1 order) Used for BBJ
Boeing 737-800 16 149 (8/141)
150 (12/138)
164 (8/156)
Domestic/International short-medium haul
China, Southeast Asia
One aircraft is in Korean Air subsidiary - Jin air
Boeing 737-900 16 188 (8/180) Domestic/International short-medium haul
China, Japan
Largest operator of the Boeing 737-900
Boeing 737-900ER (4 orders)
Boeing 747-400 21 376 (12/58/306)
420 (15/25/380)
International long haul
High-capacity short haul - Tokyo(NRT) or Bangkok or Beijing
Exit from service: 2010, as soon as A380 or Boeing 777-300ER comes to KE
Old fleets will be converted into freights
when A380 and B777-300ER are delivered and entered into service
Boeing 777-200ER 18 261 (8/28/225)
301 (12/28/261)
International long haul
High-capacity short haul
North America (Includes São Paulo via LA), Australia, Japan,
New Zealand and Europe
AVOD Available on selected aircraft
Boeing 777-300 4 376 (12/28/336) High-capacity short-medium haul
Southeast Asia, China and Japan
Boeing 777-300ER (11 orders)
(4 options)
International long haul Replacing: Boeing 747-400
Boeing 787-8 (10 orders)
(10 options)
International long haul with low demand - Oceania or International hauls from Busan or Jeju Entry into service: 2009
Replacing: Airbus A300-600
*Prestige class (business) is offered on domestic short haul. First class and Prestige class is offered on most international flights with some offering only Prestige class.


The Korean Air Cargo fleet consists of the following aircraft as of September 2007:
Korean Air Cargo Fleet
Aircraft Total Routes Notes
Airbus A300-600F 2 China, Japan Converted from passenger service
Boeing 747-400F 11
Boeing 747-400ERF 7
Boeing 747-400BCF 5
(3 orders)
Converted from passenger service
Boeing 747-8F (5 orders)
Boeing 777 Freighter (5 orders)
The average age of the Korean Air fleet is 8.8 years as of March 2008. Korean Air operates 102 passenger aircraft, and 23 cargo aircraft, for a total of 125 planes as of November 30, 2007.

On 31 May 2005 Korean Air signed an agreement for an additional order for a Boeing 747-400ERF, converting an option taken out in 2004, bringing total Korean Air orders for the aircraft to seven. The airline is also ordering Boeing 747-8 Freighter and Boeing 777 Freighter to expand their fleet.

On 29 December 2006 Korean Air has announced that it will convert all passenger Boeing 747-400 fleet to freighters to expand its fleet.

Korean Air Cargo has been ranked the world's top commercial airline cargo operation by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for two consecutive years (2004~2005), as measured by international (not domestic) FTKs. During 2005, Korean Air recorded 7.982 billion international FTK, topping the charts.


Korean Air Retired Fleet
Aircraft Year Retired Replacement Notes
Airbus A300B4-103 1997
Boeing 707-320 1980s
Boeing 720-200 1993
Boeing 727-200 1993
Boeing 747-200 1998
Boeing 747-200F 2006 Boeing 747-400ERF Selling to Cargo 360
Boeing 747SP 1998
Boeing 747-300 2005 Boeing 777-200ER
Boeing 747-300C 2006 Sold to Cargo 360
Douglas DC-3 1970s
Douglas DC-4 1970s
Douglas DC-8 1980s
Douglas DC-9 1973
Douglas DC-10-30 1996 Sold to Northwest Airlines
McDonnell Douglas MD-11 2005
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 2005 Boeing 737-800/900
McDonnell Douglas MD-83 2005 Boeing 737-800/900
Fokker F27 Friendship 1980s
Fokker F28 Fellowship 1989
Fokker F100 2005 Boeing 737-800/900 Selling to Iran Aseman Airlines
NAMC YS-11 1976
CASA C-212 2001


In 2005, Korean Air invested more than 1 billion dollars to bring in new products and services. New products include sleeper seats for First and Business Class, as well as personal In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) devices. These products are only available in newly delivered Boeing 777-200ER aircraft as well as select Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The new cabin will gradually be added to all long haul aircraft. Korean Air operates "Ladies Only" lavatories: only women on board are allowed to use them.

As of June 27, 2007, Korean Air's new cabin is available on non-stop flights to and from Los Angeles*, Las Vegas, Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Guam, Beijing, Shanghai, Paris, Frankfurt, London, and Manila.

  • Note: the flight to Los Angeles via Tokyo does not have the new cabin.

First Class - Kosmo Sleeper Seat

Korean Air's new first class offers passengers a "Kosmo Sleeper Seat" that can recline to 180 degrees. Custom made for Korean Air, the new fabric seat is 30 inches wide and is equipped with privacy partitions and AVOD (Audio Video On Demand) entertainment. Also, lumbar massage, movable side armrests, a buddy seat (auxiliary seat) and individual reading lights are added to the new seat.

Business Class - Prestige Plus Seat

The new "Prestige Plus Seat" is manufactured by B/E Aerospace and reclines to 170 degrees. The seat comes with individual reading lights, lumbar massage, privacy partitions and AVOD (Audio Visual On Demand) entertainment.

Economy Class

Manufactured by Weber, Korean Air's new economy class features a slim-line design. Every seat is equipped with adjustable headrests, footrests, a cup holder and an 8.4" personal screen that features AVOD entertainment.


In-flight entertainment

All classes in newly retrofitted/ delivered aircraft is equipped with personal LCD touch-screens featuring AVOD (Audio Visual On Demand). The system is named SKY and manufactured by Panasonic Avionics Corporation. Offerings include a selection of over forty newly released movies, 60 short programs, over four thousand songs on 300 CDs and ten latest games. Selections also include channels dedicated exclusively to programming on contemporary Korean pop culture, music and the latest Korean movies and dramas released by major Korea broadcasting networks.

All selections are available to all passengers in various passengers' languages. Unique to the SKY system, the interactive feature allows passengers to use a "My Music" feature to customize a personal jukebox to listen to for the duration of the flight. Korean Air will roll-out enhanced video and audiovisual services through this system to all newly acquired aircraft, as it will be one of the first Asian carriers to receive the Airbus 380.


A new color scheme of aircraft seats was introduced. Celadon green, a color that is characteristic to Korea, has been incorporated as the primary dominant colors to all First Class, Business Class and Prestige Class seats.

In addition, dark blue and mocha chocolate was used for economy class seats. Korean Air engineers and customer service focus groups' conclusions and input were sought in also integrating ochre, aquamarine and various tones of blue in all newly acquired aircraft.


Korean Air is introducing tableware designed by Kwangjuyo, a Korean ceramics and dining ware boutique manufacturer. The tableware will be supplemented by Wedgwood flatware.

Kwangjuyo flatware with the Korean Air logo will feature traditional Korean brushwork. The flatware will feature images from an ancient Koguryo painting called "Four Seasons of White Forsythia." These images will be applied to all First Class and selected Business Class tableware. Prestige Class tableware will have images from another famous Korean painting - "Four Seasons of a Willow."

Korean Air has also commissioned Kwangjuyo to design Economy Class tableware. This tableware will incorporate traditional Korean shapes and this roll-out is scheduled to be completed in late 2007.

Korean Air offers a variety of Korean meals in-flight, available in all classes. Bibimbap (Assorted vegetables accompanied with steamed rice, Korean spicy sauce red-pepper paste known as Kochujang and sesame oil), a Mercury Award winner in 1997, is the airline's signature offering. It has a few variations, including beef bibimbap and salmon bibimbap.

In 2006, Bibim Noodles (Spicy Korean Noodles), a newly introduced in-flight meal that was adopted in the in-flight menu as a second meal option on long haul flights, won the Mercury Award, making this the second time that Korean Air won this award. Vegetarian Korean meals are on menus on out-bound destinations in Korean Air's network.

Other than Bibimbap and Bibim Noodles, Korean porridge (jook), bulgogi and galbi are also available. Korean traditional court cuisine has been launched in First Class, Business Class, Prestige Class and Premium Economy classes due to Korea's popular culture being the focus of hallyu. Japanese style kaiseki meals are offered to all Japanese destinations.


SKYPASS is the frequent flyer program of Korean Air. "SKYPASS" also refers to the blue card which Korean Air frequent flyers are given. SKYPASS's motto is "Beyond your Imagination," which is also printed on the card. The program's elite levels are comparable to those of other airlines' frequent flyer programs, requiring members to fly a certain number of miles per two-year cycle. Qualification for the highest level is based on lifetime flight miles, requiring a customer to fly 1 million miles. Membership in this level is granted for life.

Codeshare agreements

Korean Air has codeshare agreements with the following airlines as of July 2007:

Note : (ST) means Sky Team member.

Korean Air is a founding partner airline in SkyTeam, the world's second largest airline alliance.

Korean Air is an airline partner of Skywards, the frequent flyer program for Emirates Airline and SriLankan Airlines. Skywards members can earn miles for flying Korean Air and can redeem miles for free flights.

Aerospace research and manufacturing

Korean Air is also involved in aerospace research and manufacturing. The division, known as the Korean Air Aerospace Division (KAL-ASD), manufactures licensed versions of the MD 500 and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and the F-5E/F Tiger II fighter aircraft, the aft fuselage and wings for the KF-16 fighter aircraft manufactured by Korean Aerospace Industries, and parts for various commercial aircraft including the Boeing 737, 747, 777, and the Airbus A330, and A380. KAA also provides aircraft maintenance support for the United States Department of Defense in Asia and maintains a research division with focuses on launch vehicle, satellite, commercial and military aircraft, helicopter, and simulation systems.

Incidents and accidents

Since 1970, Korean Air has had six incidents and accidents with passenger fatalities.

Korean Air Lines Flight 007, also known as KAL 007, was a Korean Air Lines civilian airliner shot down by Soviet jet interceptors on September 1, 1983 just west of Sakhalin island. 269 passengers and crew, including US congressman Lawrence McDonald, were aboard KAL 007; there were no known survivors.

The last fatal passenger incident, as of 2008, was the Korean Air Flight 801 crash in 1997. The latest crew fatality was flight 8509 in December of 1999.



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