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Korean Air
Daehan Hanggong
Founded 1962 (privatized 1969)
Hubs Incheon International Airport
Gimpo International Airport
Focus cities Gimhae International Airport
Jeju International Airport
Frequent flyer program SKYPASS
Member lounge Korean Air Lounge
Alliance SkyTeam
Subsidiaries Jin Air
Fleet size 126 (+ 55 orders)
Destinations 116
Company slogan Excellence in Flight
Parent company Hanjin Group
Headquarters Seoul, South Korea
Key people Cho Yangho (Chairman and CEO)
Korean name
Hangul 대한항공
Hanja 大韓航空
Revised Romanization Daehan Hanggong
McCune–Reischauer Taehan Hanggong

Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. (KRX: 003490), operating as Korean Air, is the largest airline and flag carrier of South Korea. Its global headquarters are located in Seoul. Korean Air's international passenger division and related subsidiary cargo division together serve 130 cities in 45 countries, while its domestic division serves 20 destinations. It is among the top 20 airlines in the world in terms of passengers carried, and is also top ranked in international freight carrying. [1] Incheon International Airport serves as Korean Air's international hub. Korean Air also maintains a satellite headquarters campus at Incheon.

Korean Air's main global headquarters campus and its Global Operations Center are located in Gonghang-dong, Gangseo-gu in Seoul.[2] Korean Air also maintains a domestic office campus at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul. Korean Air's lesser domestic hubs are based at Jeju International Airport, Jeju and Gimhae International Airport, Busan.[3] The maintenance facilities are located in Gimhae International Airport.

In 2009, Korean Air was rated as the best airline in Asia for the third straight year, having the best business class on routes to Asia for the fourth consecutive year and the best advertising campaign in the business for the second year in a row by Business Traveler Magazine.[4] Korean Air is currently North America's largest airline to Asia.[5] Its main rival is Asiana Airlines, another South Korean carrier.



A Korean Air Lines Boeing 747-400 at Narita International Airport, Japan. (2005)

Korean Air was founded by the South Korean Government in 1962 as Korean Air Lines to replace Korean National Airlines (founded in 1948 and indicated in 1929). 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 International Airport(LAX) on 19 April 1972.[3]

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.[6]

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).

Korean Air owns 25% of Okay Airways, a Tianjin, PRC-based airline.[citation needed] As of 2007, Korean Air is in negotiations to open its China hub in Beijing or Shanghai by the end of 2008.

The airline has 16,623 employees (at March 2007).[3] On 5 June 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 subsidiary is Jin Air, which started its scheduled passenger service from Seoul to Jeju on 17 July 2008. Korean Air announced that some of its B737s and A300s would be given to Jin air.

In the 1980s Korean Air's head office was in the KAL Building on Namdaemunno, Jung-gu, Seoul.[7]

By 2009 Korean Air's image had become more prestigious, differing from the image of the late 1990s, which was tarnished by several fatal accidents.[8]



The Korean Air fleet consists of the following aircraft (at 4 December 2009):[9] [10]

Korean Air Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers
Airbus A300-B4-622R 8 0 276 (24/252) (AB6Q)
266 (24/242) (AB6P)
Airbus A330-223 3 6 256 (6/18/232)
Airbus A330-322
Airbus A330-323
Airbus A330-323X
0 296 (12/28/256)
Airbus A380-861 0 10 TBA
Boeing 737-7B5 BBJ1 0 1 VIP
Boeing 737-8B5
Boeing 737-86N
Boeing 737-8Q8
Boeing 737-8GQ
0 149 (8/141) (738HP)
162 (12/150) (738P)
Boeing 737-9B5 16 0 188 (8/180)
Boeing 737-9B5ER 0 4 TBA
Boeing 747-4B5 20 0 384 (16/58/310) (744P)
335 (12/61/262) (744L)
333 (10/61/262) (744K)
Boeing 747-4B5 Combi 1 0 284 (48/236)
Boeing 747-8B5 0 5 TBA
Boeing 777-2B5ER 18 0 301 (12/28/261) (772P)
261 (8/28/225) (772K)
248 (8/28/212) (772S)
Boeing 777-3B5 4 0 376 (12/28/336)
Boeing 777-3B5ER 3 8 291 (8/56/227)
Boeing 787-8B5 0 10 TBA
Korean Air Cargo
Boeing 747-4B5F 12 0 Cargo
Boeing 747-4B5ERF 7 0 Cargo
Boeing 747-4B5BCF 6 0 Cargo
Boeing 747-8B5F 0 7 Cargo
Boeing 777-B5F 0 5 Cargo
Total 127 55

Korean Air announced on 4 December 2009 that it would order 5 Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental aircraft worth $1.5 billion in list prices.[12] This is in addition to the 7 Boeing 747-8F freighters Korean Air Cargo will be operating.[13]

Korean Air Uniform

Starting from 2005, Korean Air introduced their new uniform, designed by the Italian designer, Gianfranco Ferre. Korean Air had total 11 uniforms including the one that is used now.


Korean Air serves four types of first classes, three types of business (prestige) classes, and a single class of economy class currently. The brand new first class, the 'Kosmo Suite' seats, and the business class, 'Prestige Sleeper' seats were first introduced in the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in May 2009[14]Both seats could stretch to 180 degrees, and became more private than seats than before.

The color 'Celadon Green', which represents the characteristics of Korea, is incorporated as the primary dominant colors to all First Class and Prestige Class seats. Dark blue and Mocha Chocolate are used in economy seats.


Korean Air Airbus A330

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 30,000 miles per two-year cycle.(initial entry into this level requires 50,000 miles) Qualification for the highest level is based on lifetime flight miles, requiring a customer to fly 1 million miles for Million Miler, which is the highest elite status, or 500,000 miles for Morning Calm Premium, which comes second. Both membership levels are eligible for Skyteam Elite Plus privileges. Membership in these levels are granted for life.

Codeshare agreements

Korean Air has codeshare agreements with the following airlines as of October 2009:

Korean Air is a founding partner airline in SkyTeam, the world's second largest airline alliance.

Korean Air is an airline partner of Skywards, the frequent flyer program for Emirates. Skywards members can earn miles for flying Korean Air and can redeem miles for free flights.

In addtion , on certain routes ( eg Seoul-Kuala Lumpur route vice versa) Korean Air's codesharing agreement with Malaysia Airlines also allows Malaysia Airline's Enrich members to earn miles eventhough when flying with Korean Air

Aerospace research and manufacturing

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,[15] the aft fuselage and wings for the KF-16 fighter aircraft manufactured by Korean Aerospace Industries,[16] and parts for various commercial aircraft including the Boeing 737, 747, 777, and the Airbus A330, and A380.[17] In 1991 the division designed and flew the Korean Air Chang-Gong 91 light aircraft. 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.[18]

Incidents and accidents

Korean Air has a relatively high accident rate, between 1970 and 1999 it wrote off 16 aircraft in serious incidents and accidents, with the loss of 700 lives. Since the last crash in 1999, a change in culture at Korean Air has vastly improved safety.[19] The last fatal passenger incident, was the Korean Air Flight 801 crash in 1997. The latest crew fatality was Korean Air Cargo flight 8509 in December 1999.

Notable incidents include:



External links

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