Korean Air Soaring to New Heights

Korean Air can trace its origins back to the 1940s, but has chosen to mark 1969 as its founding year. Jozef Mols describes how, from humble beginnings, the airline has grown to be one of Asia’s largest carriers.

Korean Air bought ten A380s and configured them with only 407 seats, a lower density than other operators. This one is pictured leaving New York/JFK in October 2017. AirTeamImages.com/BastianDing

This year, Korean Air Lines (usually shortened to Korean Air) celebrates its 50th birthday with more than ten billion kilometres on the clock. In 2018, Korean Air ranked in 21st place worldwide in terms of revenue, and 26th for traffic measured by revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs). Back in 1969, it had a mere eight aircraft, but now has 166 in its fleet. All good reasons to celebrate, of course, but strangely enough, the Koreans are discounting the early years of their existence prior to the privatisation of the airline in 1969.

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