Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Korean Air to phase out older Boeing 737s, 747s and 777s

Korean Air plans to phase out more of its older passenger and cargo aircraft this year as it upgrades its fleet with several wide-body and narrow-body deliveries.

The South Korea flag carrier is scheduled to receive four Boeing 787-9s in 2018, giving it nine, and four Boeing 777-300ERs, boosting its total to 24. Korean Air expects to receive its remaining eight Bombardier CS300s on order by year-end, joining the two delivered in December.

These additions will be partly offset by retirements. The carrier said it intends to phase out four Boeing 737-800s and one or two of its 14 remaining 777-200ERs this year. Most of these aircraft are expected to go to Korean Air’s LCC subsidiary Jin Air, which operates both 737s and 777s.

The Seoul-based airline is continuing to retire its older Boeing 747s. The carrier still has four passenger 747-400s and it intends to phase out one or two of them this year, Korean Air EVP Keehong Woo said.

On the cargo side, Korean Air plans to retire its last five 747-400Fs in 2018. It still will have four of the younger 747-400ERFs as well as seven 747-8Fs and 12 777Fs. The airline is not adding any freighters this year, and has no more on order.

Korean Air operates 10 Airbus A380s and 10 747-8s in its passenger fleet. Woo said the airline is happy with those sub-fleets and does not need to add very large aircraft.

The airline is considering alternatives for ordering more mid-size wide-body aircraft, according to Woo. These will be needed to replace older 777-200ERs and Airbus A330-200s and -300s. An order decision is likely in the next year or two.

Korean Air’s first scheduled CS300 flight is scheduled for Jan. 20. The Bombardier twinjets will start out in the airline's domestic network, but eventually will operate international routes, Woo said. The first international services for the CS300s could be on existing secondary routes to Japan, as those flights are relatively short. Korean does not plan to open new Japanese routes, Woo added.

(Adrian Schofield - Aviation Daily / ATWOnline News)

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