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Korean Air to operate lowest density A380 configuration

30-Dec-2010
Korean Air Chairman and CEO, Yang Ho Cho
Korean Air Chairman and CEO, Yang Ho Cho

Korean Air on 28-Dec-2010 confirmed plans to commence A380 operations in May-2011. The airline will configure the aircraft with 407 seats: 12 first class and 301 economy seats on the main deck and 94 prestige-class (business) seats on the upper deck. The carrier has chosen not to opt for a premium economy cabin.

Korean Air’s configuration marks the lowest density A380 configuration to date with the carrier to become the only carrier to have the entire second floor of A380 dedicated to the business class product. 

Known A380 configurations  

Airline

First

Business

Premium economy

Economy

Total

Korean Air

12

94

-

301

407

Skymark

-

-

-

-

400-450

Qantas

14

72

32

332

450

Singapore Airlines

12

60

-

399

471

Emirates (ultra long range)

14

76

-

399

489

Air France

9

80

38

389

516

Emirates (long range)

14

76

-

427

517

Lufthansa

9

98

 

420

526

Air France

9

80

-

499

538

Emirates (medium range)

-

-

-

-

600

Air Austral

0

0

0

About 840

About 840

The upgrade coincides with a recovery in premium traffic demand and is part of efforts by the Seoul-based carrier to reposition itself as a leading premium carrier. As previously noted in a separate report -  Cathay unveils new Business class product; Flurry of worldwide overhaul activity – a number of carriers in the region there has been a flurry of overhaul activity recently, particularly focussed around premium product upgrades, in the belief that this is the key to their financial success.

Meanwhile, there has been speculation that Singapore Airlines will extend the business-class cabin on all new A380s to cover the entire upper deck, beginning with the May-2011 arrival of the carrier's 12th A380. The carrier has not confirmed or denied the plans with the carrier stating only: “It is possible that we may have a different configuration for some of the aircraft. But as of now we don't have any specific detail. We don't comment on speculation, and specifically with regards to aircraft configuration, for reasons of confidentiality."

Korean to have 94 lie-flat business sleepers; 74-inch seat pitch

Korean Air's 94 lie-flat business sleepers will offer 74-inche seat pitch and extra large seat partitions. This makes Korean Air’s business-class A380 product one of the most generous for seat pitch, although Qantas Airways does have a more generous seat pitch. The Korean Air configuration is designed to “further reinforce” the carrier’s reputation as a leading premium passenger flight service provider.

In service A380 business-class configurations

Airline  

Seat Pitch  

Seat Width  

Video Type  

Laptop Power  

Air France

55.0"

34.0"

Personal TV

None

Emirates

48"

18.5"

Personal TV

AC Power

Lufthansa

57-60.0"

19.6"

Personal TV

None

Qantas Airways

80.0"

21.5"

Personal TV

None

Singapore Airlines

55.0"

34.0"

Personal TV

None

Korean Air Senior VP and Head of Passenger Business Division Walter Cho commented: "Korean Air's A380 is one of the most spacious in the industry when you consider that our economy class seats are spaced almost three feet apart and our Prestige Class pitch is over six feet. That's a comfort level that will provide us with a competitive edge.”

Mr Cho added that the unique configuration will allow Korean Air business flyers "to feel exclusivity like they're traveling in their own private jet", adding: “This innovative approach to dedicate an entire floor for a single class will be benchmarked by other airlines."

Largest economy-seat pitch

The carrier will have 34-inch seat pitch in economy class, making it the most spacious economy A380 configuration to date. 

In service A380 economy-class configurations

Airline  

Seat Pitch  

Seat Width  

Video Type  

Laptop Power  

Air France

32.0"

19.0"

Personal TV

None

Emirates

32.0"

18.0"

Personal TV

AC Power

Lufthansa

31.0"

20.5"

Personal TV

None

Qantas Airways

31.0"

18.1"

Personal TV

None

Singapore Airlines

32.0"

19.0"

Personal TV

None

A380 service to be launched on services to Japan and East Asia in May-2011

The airline will launch its A380s on short-haul routes to Japan and East Asia in May-2011 and then expand to US and European routes in Aug-2011. Korean Air has ordered 10 A380 aircraft with the first five to be delivered by the end of 2011 and an additional five by 2014.


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