Korean Air today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus to acquire up to eight Airbus A380-800 passenger aircraft (five firm orders and three options).
With Korean Air's selection, Airbus has now 129 orders and commitments from 11 customers for the A380 programme. Built to the latest and most stringent certification requirements, the 555-seater A380 embodies the most advanced technologies, providing 15 to 20 per cent lower operating costs than the largest aircraft flying today and 10 to 15 per cent more range.
Deliveries to Korean Air are scheduled to begin in late 2007 through 2009.
"Our decision to purchase the A380 aircraft meets our strategy to reinforce Incheon Intl Airport as the strongest hub in Northeast Asia," said Yang Ho Cho, Chairman and CEO of Korean Air. "As one of the leading airlines in Asia, our long-term fleet plan plays a significant role in this strategy."
Noël Forgeard, Airbus Chief Executive Officer said: "The A380 is especially well suited to respond to the needs of Asian carriers in the new century. Korean Air's commitment to the A380 is again a demonstration of its foresight into future market requirements. It also further confirms the fact that the A380 is the right aircraft that arrives at the right time on the market."
Airbus' relationship with Korean Air dates back to 1974, when the airline became Airbus' first customer outside Europe. Today, the carrier remains one of Airbus' largest customers in the region, having placed total firm orders for 51 widebody types, comprising 32 A300s and 19 A330s.
When it enters into service in 2006, the A380 will offer all the advantages of a completely new design, while retaining maximum commonality with the existing Airbus aircraft family. Passengers will experience a new way of flying in the A380, benefiting from a spacious cabin and wider seats, including those in economy class; while airlines will reap the benefits stemming from Airbus' unique operational commonality inherent in its fly-by-wire family of aircraft, as well as from lower operating costs. A "friendly neighbour," it will quietly ease congestion problems at major airports.
A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS.