Korean Air has signed a contract with Airbus covering a firm order for 30 A321neo aircraft plus 20 options, becoming a new customer for the best-selling single aisle A320 Family. The purchase agreement finalises a commitment announced earlier this year and was signed in Seoul by Walter Cho Won Tae, Korean Air Executive Vice President and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO.
The order comes as Airbus and Korean Air celebrate 40 Years of Airbus operations at the airline, which began in October 1975 when the carrier’s first A300B4 entered service on the Seoul-Fukuoka route. Since that time Korean Air has continuously operated Airbus widebody aircraft, including various versions of the A300, the A330 and the double-deck A380.
Korean Air will operate the A321neo with a two class full service layout on regional services, including on longer sectors to selected destinations in South East Asia. The aircraft will be fitted with premium amenities, including wider seats in both classes and the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems.
“We are pleased to be able to finalise our first ever single aisle aircraft order with Airbus,” said Cho Yang Ho, Chairman of Korean Air Group. “The A321neo will bring new levels of efficiency, longer flying range and greater in-flight comfort to our single aisle fleet, as well as reduced impact on the environment. The A321neo will contribute to our ongoing commitment to offer true excellence in flight wherever we fly.”
“Over four decades Korean Air has consistently ranked among the top operators of Airbus widebodies,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President & CEO. “We now look forward to a new phase in our relationship with the arrival of the airline’s first Airbus single aisle aircraft. We are confident that the A321neo will not only meet but will fully exceed the airline’s expectations in terms of operational efficiency, profitability and passenger appeal.”
Korean Air placed its first order, for the original A300B4 in September 1974, becoming just the fourth airline in the world and the first from outside Europe to sign an aircraft purchase agreement with Airbus. Today, the A380 is the flagship of the airline’s long haul fleet, while the mid-size A330 is operated by the airline on services across the Asia-Pacific region, as well as on selected routes to Europe.
The A321 is the largest member of the best-selling single aisle A320 Family. To date, the A320 Family has won more than 12,200 orders and over 6,700 aircraft have been delivered to more than 300 operators worldwide.
Incorporating new engines and the latest technologies, the A320neo Family will bring a step-change reduction in fuel consumption of over 15 per cent, longer range capability and reduced maintenance costs, as well as significantly reduced carbon emissions.
With over 4,300 orders received from more than 75 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured almost 60 percent share of the market.