CHARLESTON, S.C. — Boeing and Korean Air today celebrated the delivery of the airline’s first 787-9 Dreamliner (HL8082 • MSN 38411 • LN 549). The Seoul-based carrier will be the first Korean carrier to operate the 787-9 in the country.
In a ceremony held at the Boeing South Carolina Delivery Center, Rick Anderson, SVP Northeast Asia Sales, Boeing, highlighted the history of Korean Air as a key Boeing customer and as one “of the few airlines to have operated nearly all Boeing airliners.”
“Korean Air continues to demonstrate its leadership in the global commercial airline industry, and we are confident that the market-leading efficiency and comfort of the 787-9 Dreamliner will build onto their long-term success for many years to come,” he said.
Anderson also highlighted the role of Korean Air as a supplier for the 787 program. The aft fuselage section, the flap support fairings and the wingtips of all Dreamliner variants are produced by KAL-ASD, the aerospace division of Korean Air.
The airline is scheduled to launch the initial proving route to Jeju from Seoul (Gimpo) on March 12, three times a day during two months as part of the required certification and crew training, before launching long-haul international routes to Toronto in June and to Seattle, Los Angeles and Barcelona in Spain.
The Seoul – Jeju route is considered to be the world’s busiest route in terms of passengers, at over 7 million passengers per year.
The jetliner features 269 seats, including six first class seats and 18 business class seats. The carrier selected the same B/E Apex seat for both cabins in a staggered configuration at 75 inches of seat pitch.
— Chris Sloan (@airchive) February 22, 2017
“First and business class are the same seat but people will pay more for our exclusive first class service,” said Walter Cho, president of Korean Air.
The economy class seats seem to be a bit more generous at 33 inches of pitch in 245 economy slimline seats at 9 abreast.
Since the delivery of its first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, Korean Air has embarked into a modernization of its fleet, which now includes the Dreamliner and eventually the Bombardier CS300, which are expected to join the fleet by the second half of this year.
“The 787 Dreamliner will be a key member of Korean Air’s fleet as we continue to introduce next-generation airplanes to our customers,” Cho said.
Korean Air is scheduled to introduce five 787-9 Dreamliners to its fleet this year, with another five joining the fleet by 2019.
Cho also commented that the Dreamliners will enable Korean Air to expand frequencies to routes in the United States, with one additional frequency from Seoul to Los Angeles and to Seattle, which will be a daily service from March.
With a fleet of 165 aircraft, Korean Air is one of the world’s top 20 airlines, and operates more than 460 flights per day to 132 cities in 46 countries. It is a founding member of the SkyTeam alliance, which together with its 20 members, offers its 665 million annual passengers a worldwide system of more than 17,343 daily flights covering 1,062 destinations in 177 countries.