Korean Air, South Korea’s flagship airline, kicked off the ceremony for the delivery of its first A380 in Toulouse today, marking another milestone in the airline’s history and in its long term partnership with Airbus. Mr. Yang Ho Cho, Chairman and CEO of Korean Air; Mr. Tom Enders, President and CEO of Airbus; Mr. Louis Gallois, CEO of EADS; and senior management of the attending parties and other aviation companies involved in the production of the aircraft, attended the delivery ceremony today to witness the historical moment.
Mr. Yang Ho Cho, Chairman and CEO of Korean Air, said, “Korean Air was the first airline to purchase an Airbus aircraft outside Europe. The exceptional, fuel efficient and environmental friendly A380, which has now become an essential part of our fleet, perfectly assists Korean Air in advancing our goal of becoming a respected leading global carrier. It will strengthen our fleet and help Korean Air connect the world in comfort and with convenience.”
“As we enter this new era of great service, we pledge to continue to set our standards high; to maintain our commitment to the environment; to complement great aircraft with great service; and to make our flights the kind that customers want to return to.” Mr. Cho added.
“We are extremely proud to welcome Korean Air as the latest operator of the A380,” said Tom Enders, President and CEO of Airbus. “The A380 has proven to be a game changer, setting new standards for comfort, economic efficiency and respect for the environment. We are confident that the A380 will play a key role in enabling Korean Air to further strengthen its position as one of the world’s great airlines.”
The delivery ceremony, attended by key industry leaders as well as Korean Air and Airbus management and employees, saw the spectacular unveiling of the newest addition to Korean Air’s next-generation fleet of aircraft.
Configured in a three class layout with just 407 seats, the lowest configuration of any A380 operator so far, Korean Air’s double-decker A380s feature unique amenities with 12 First Class Kosmo Suites and 301 Economy Class seats on the main deck and 94 fully lie-flat Prestige Sleeper seats in Prestige Class (business class) on the upper deck. The carrier is the first to devote an entire deck of the giant aircraft to one class.
Korean Air will be the first airline in the industry to have a ‘Duty Free Showcase’ on its new A380 aircraft. The unique feature will have a variety of duty-free products displayed, such as cosmetics, perfumes, liquor and accessories, with a dedicated cabin crew member on hand to assist and advise passengers with their shopping. The airline also proudly unveiled another unique feature of its A380, the stylish onboard bar and lounge area where passengers can sample Korean Air’s selection of exclusive cocktails while enjoying some rest and relaxation during their flight.
Korean Air’s first A380 will arrive in Korea on 2nd June 2011 after finishing final flight and ground tests in Toulouse. The new aircraft will then go through the required flight tests in Korea and will make its inaugural flight to Tokyo Narita in mid June 2011.
Korean Air will be the sixth operator of the A380. The airline has ordered ten A380 aircraft with the first five to be delivered by the end of 2011 and an additional five by 2014. Korean Air will initially operate the A380 from Seoul to destinations in Asia, followed by non-stop long-haul services to North America and Europe.