Asiana Airlines receives its first A350: widebody aircraft at long last, but partnerships must grow

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Asiana Airlines' acceptance of its first A350 may have been understated, but was nonetheless momentous: the airline has long lacked the capital to grow in an expanding Asian aviation market. Asiana is firmly South Korea's second airline and is not a strong challenger to Korean Air. In recent years Asiana has further lost pace, compared to international competitors.

Asiana has 12 A350-900s and 10 A350-1000s (as well as three -800s, which Airbus does not intend to build) on order. Asiana needs to replace many older aircraft, but even with some A350s allocated to growth, Asiana needs to prove it is not too little, too late.

Domestic and short haul international markets are challenges for Asiana too, but in the long haul space Asiana needs to find stronger partnerships evolving to joint ventures. Logical candidates, Lufthansa and United, have had a distant relationship with Asiana, partially because they worked with competitors, but also because Asiana's culture was too insular.

To enhance its global footprint, Asiana must first change itself.

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