After announcing their intentions at the Paris Air Show, Korean Air has now finalized an order for 30 Boeing 787 aircraft. This comes at a crucial time for Boeing as they seek to regain confidence as a leading aircraft manufacturer. Their 787 works well for Korean Air and the firm order is a testament to Korean’s confidence in the aircraft.
Korean Air orders more 787s
At the Paris Air Show, Korean Air announced their intention to acquire 30 Boeing 787 aircraft. The order comprised 10 787-9 aircraft and 20 of the larger 787-10s. These aircraft were natural additions to Korean Air’s fleet since the carrier already operates 787-9s. Boeing announced that this order has now been finalized.
All of the 787-9s and 10 of the 787-10s are being purchased directly from Boeing. Meanwhile, 10 additional 787-10s will enter Korean Air’s fleet on lease from Air Lease Corporation.
Expanding their Dreamliner fleet
Korean Air currently operates 10 Boeing 787-9 aircraft. After examining the aircraft’s performance, it seems that Korean Air found the 787 to be better for its operations than competing A330neos or A350 aircraft. By the time all thirty aircraft are delivered, Korean Air will have quadrupled its fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft. This represents a strong commitment to the model for its future fleet strategy.
In fact, Korean Air’s Chairman, Walter Cho, had the following to say about the 787:
“As we continue to innovate our product offering, the 787 Dreamliner family will become the backbone of our mid-and long-haul fleet for many years to come”
The 787 offers better operating economics than older aircraft. Thus, Korean Air intends to use these additional 787s to replace older Airbus A330s, Boeing 747s, and Boeing 777s. Not only would this allow Korean Air to improve their operating economics with more fuel-efficient aircraft, but it would help them achieve additional fleet simplicity. A simpler fleet means fewer costs associated with pilot training and maintenance for the carrier and, for passengers, a more consistent inflight experience.
How will Korean Air use these 787s?
Korean Air stated that they would like to use the 787-10s for medium-haul routes, while the 787-9s will be used on long-haul routes. It seems that the 787-10s will replace Boeing 747s and 777-300s that operate medium-haul hops throughout East Asia. On the other hand, the 787-9 could easily replace older 777s and A330s that operate longer routes.
Korean Air has not released a seating configuration for the 787-10, but their 787-9s are arranged in a three-class configuration with 269 seats. This includes six First Class seats, 18 Prestige (business) seats, and 245 economy seats. It is likely that Korean Air will maintain this configuration on the new 787-9s, although it has been moving away from First Class on some aircraft, so it is possible that these new Dreamliners will no longer have First Class available.
For passengers, the Boeing 787 should offer a more comfortable ride. In addition, better fuel efficiency and advanced technology mean these aircraft are more environmentally friendly than older aircraft. The first 787-10s are expected to arrive in Korean Air livery in 2021.
Are you excited to see more 787s flying in Korean Air livery? Let us know in the comments!