Korean Air reports lower load factors on A380 services to Narita and Hong Kong
Korean Air stated that between 17-Jun-2011 and 19-Jul-2011, load factors on the A380-operated Seoul Incheon-Tokyo Narita stood at 77%, down from 89% in the same period of 2010, and load factors on Seoul Incheon-Hong Kong service was 81%, down from 91% in 2010 (Joonang, 22-Jul-2011). B747 and B777 equipment were previously deployed on the route. The carrier stated the reduced load factor was due to disappointing business class sales. The A380 has two to three times more business-class seats than on the B747 and B777 equipment. Meanwhile, economy class was almost full on the routes, the carrier said, with 94% load factors. A Korean Air spokesman said: “We kind of predicted this would happen since we placed the aircraft for short routes as a tryout. But when we start running the aircraft for long routes, things will change.” Korean Air also said it is difficult to gauge the losses from the Japanese Government's directive to diplomats to refrain from flying with Korean Air to protest the test flight last month of its new A380 aircraft over Dokdo. The carrier, however, expects the damage to be minimal.