Korean Air has announced the launch of the airline’s first-ever A380 commercial flights with inaugural services between Seoul Incheon and both Tokyo Narita and Hong Kong from today onwards.
The inaugural A380 flight took off from Incheon International Airport in Seoul, Korea today at 09:10, and arrived into Tokyo Narita International Airport in Japan at 11:30. The same Airbus A380 flight will return to Seoul the same afternoon, departing at 20:00 to Hong Kong International Airport, with the Korean Air Airbus A380 arriving at 22:30 (all local times) the same evening.
The airline’s premier Airbus A380 flight flew with the codename ‘KE380’ to mark this historic milestone in Korean Air’s history.
Also, to celebrate the event, special giveaways such as A380 models, USB memory cards and A380 route map memo pads were given to passengers as mementos. As a surprise, a free A380 flight ticket and 33 more special gifts were hidden in the seat pockets to the delight of the lucky passengers.
In addition, Korean Air celebrated the test flight ceremony of its first Airbus A380 at Seoul Incheon International Airport yesterday. Yang Ho Cho, Chairman and CEO of Korean Air, and other VIP guests attended the test flight ceremony to witness the historical moment.
Korean Air has ordered ten A380 aircraft with the first five to be delivered by the end of 2011 and the remaining five by 2014. The airline will gradually expand its A380 services to popular short-haul routes in Asia, such as Bangkok in July, followed by long-haul routes to major destinations in Europe and North America, such as New York in August, Paris in September and Los Angeles in October 2011.
Being the first A380 operator in Northeast Asia and the sixth operator worldwide, Korean Air takes pride in the fact that it will operate one of the most spacious A380s in the industry. Configured in a three-class layout with just 407 seats in total, the lowest configuration of any A380 operator thus far, Korean Air’s double-decker A380s feature unique, cutting-edge amenities with 12 ultra-luxurious First Class Kosmo Suites and 301 Economy Class seats on the main lower deck, and 94 fully lie-flat Prestige Sleeper seats in Prestige Class (business class) on the upper deck. Korean Air has also taken the bold step of being the first carrier globally to devote an entire deck of this giant aircraft to a single class. Moreover, in line with the airline’s dedication to maintaining “Excellence in Flight”, all seats are equipped with Korean Air’s highly acclaimed AVOD in-flight entertainment system.
Korean Air will be the first airline in the industry to have a ‘Duty Free Showcase’ on its new A380 aircraft. Featuring a great variety of duty-free products, such as cosmetics, perfumes, liquor and accessories, with a dedicated cabin crew member on hand to assist and advise passengers with all their shopping needs, the Duty Free Showcase is designed to offer Korean Air’s valued customers a brand new and highly enjoyable in-flight shopping experience.
A new onboard bar and lounge area has been fitted onto the new A380s, offering the premium class flyer the ultimate in in-flight style and relaxation. The new lounge, located at the rear of the upper deck, is a unique mix of Asian aesthetic and functionality and is equipped with a staffed bar serving a range of signature cocktails created exclusively for Korean Air.
The introduction of this super jumbo aircraft, with its pioneering spacious layout, is expected to further strengthen Korean Air’s competitiveness as a leading global carrier in the aviation industry. By entering this thrilling new era with its new Airbus A380 fleet, Korean Air continues with its heartfelt pledge to remain fully committed to providing true excellence in flight, in its services, and its commitment to the protection of the environment, whilst always striving to exceed the expectations of its customers.
Also, Korean Air has delivered the last boxes of mineral water to the victims of the earthquake in Japan on its first A380 flight. The airline has been sending relief items since March this year and from 10 April the carrier started sending bottles of mineral water collected by its staff. The mineral water gathered by the employees was sent to Japan in several phases since April and the lot sent today on the A380 was the last 320 boxes (3,840 1.5litre bottles) from a total of 7768 boxes. In recent years Korean Air has joined relief efforts in the aftermath of a number of disasters throughout Asia including those in China, Japan, New Zealand and Thailand, by providing blankets, water and financial support.