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).
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.
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."
|Airbus A300-600R||8||266 (24/242) |
|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) |
|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) |
|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 |
|Largest operator of the Boeing 737-900|
|Boeing 737-900ER||(4 orders)|
|Boeing 747-400||21||376 (12/58/306) |
|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) |
|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) |
|International long haul||Replacing: Boeing 747-400|
|Boeing 787-8||(10 orders) |
|International long haul with low demand - Oceania or International hauls from Busan or Jeju||Entry into service: 2009 |
Replacing: Airbus A300-600
|Airbus A300-600F||2||China, Japan||Converted from passenger service|
|Boeing 747-400BCF||5 |
|Converted from passenger service|
|Boeing 747-8F||(5 orders)|
|Boeing 777 Freighter||(5 orders)|
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.
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.
|Boeing 747-200F||2006||Boeing 747-400ERF||Selling to Cargo 360|
|Boeing 747-300||2005||Boeing 777-200ER|
|Boeing 747-300C||2006||Sold to Cargo 360|
|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|
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.
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.
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.
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.
Note : (ST) means Sky Team member.
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.
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.
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.