Asiana Airlines has moved forward its 2.5 hour A380 service between Seoul Incheon and Taipei Taoyuan. The route, previously scheduled to run from October 27th, now begins on September 15th.The Taipei A380 (OZ711/712) will run the route throughout the winter 2019/20 season. According to Routes Online, the type replaces the carrier’s 777-200ER during this period. Asiana’s Seoul Incheon – Tokyo Narita A380 scheduled in the latter part of the year has been removed.
OZ711 ICN1000 – 1130TPE EQV D
OZ713 ICN1420 – 1550TPE EQV D
OZ712 TPE1255 – 1635ICN EQV D
OZ714 TPE1650 – 2020ICN EQV D
After becoming the second South Korean carrier to operate the A380 in 2014, Asiana aimed to expand its worldwide network. It currently has six A380s in service and flies from its Seoul hub to Asian and North American destinations.
Despite its financial woes, Asiana continues to update its fleet. On July 31st this year, the carrier received the first of 25 A321-200neos. The narrowbody is configured with 188 seats (180 economy and eight premium). The remaining 24 jets will be delivered within six years.
Asiana intends to fly the neo from August 8th on the Seoul Incheon to Taipei route, according to CH-Aviation.
Asian Airlines financial difficulty
Parent company Kumho announced in April its intention to sell subsidiary Asiana, in an effort to halt a financial downturn. The Korea Herald revealed at the end of July that bidding had begun for the airline. The stake up for sale is valued at an ambitious 448 billion won ($380 million), wrote the Herald.
AeKyeong Group, the parent company of Korean budget airline Jeju Air, is considered the front runner in the race for Asiana Airlines.
In tandem with its sale, Asiana has begun to end unprofitable routes. We reported in April that the airline’s cost-cutting measures were to include the termination of 87 routes and 83 planes. At present routes closed include Seoul–Incheon to Chicago–O’Hare, Delhi and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in Russia.
First class axed
Asiana has already axed its first class cabin service. In May we revealed that Asiana was set to discontinue its provision of first class, but would keep its business class.
From September 1st, Asiana will no longer offer first class service on board any of its flights. Previously, it had discarded premium cabins on its Boeing 777-200s and Boeing 747-400s but maintained a first class service on board some A380 routes.
Asiana Airlines and Korean Air have turned away from the three-tier cabin due to financial hardship. Both airlines failed to embrace the first class ethos which led to most of the posh seats being left empty on outgoing flights. Most passengers were unwilling to pay a hefty premium.
The elimination of first class would allow Asiana the freedom to add more economy seats in due course. Asiana’s A380s have 495 seats, including 12 first class seats, 66 business class seats, and 417 economy seats.