Korean Air to retire its A380s, B747s within a decade

Aviation Updates Philippines – While Korean Air has continued to operate its superjumbo Airbus A380s and Boeing 747s, the airline is making plans to retire the four-engine jets from their fleet within a decade.  

Image: Korean Air A380 (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 In a report from FlightGlobal, Korean Air CEO Cho Won-tae confirmed to the aviation industry news site that the Seoul-based airline will retire its A380 and 747-8 within the decade. According to Cho, the A380s will be retired within the next 5 years, while the 747s will follow within 10 years.

According to Korean Air's second quarter results, the airline currently has 10 A380s and 10 747-8Is – all of which are currently parked due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline also revealed the Boeing 747-400s are no longer part of the airline's operational fleet. With its anticipated merger with Asiana , it is expected to inherit 6 A380s when it completes the integration of its main South Korean-based rival by the year 2024.

Like many airlines globally, the airline will rely more on its twin-engine widebody Boeing jets to serve its long-haul and high capacity network. Korean Air currently has 26 777-300ER, 10 787-9s, and 20 787-10s. The airline has another 10 787-9s on order.

As for future orders for aircraft such as the Boeing 777-9 (777X), Cho was quoted in the report saying: “While I haven’t ruled out the Boeing 777X, there are some points that still need verification. I may consider it after that, but I don’t think we’ll have a large demand for new aircraft for some time as we already have a significant number of aircraft in operation or on order.”

With the plans, Korean Air - South Korea's largest airline - will join other global airlines in retiring and phasing out their A380 and 747 jets.