“This is the most spacious flight to Asia yet,” Korean VP-marketing Americas John Jackson said. He underlined A380-specific factors such as a “sense of openness and freedom in the air,” adding that the airline’s premier-class Kosmo Suites are designed to “reflect the feel and elegance of a private jet.”
The new aircraft will make its first commercial flight July 6 from Seoul Incheon to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to extend Korean Air’s A380 international routes to Los Angeles, Atlanta and Paris.
Korean has pitched its aircraft firmly into the prestige passenger segment with only 407 seats, compared to a potential maximum of some 800 passengers in a single-class aircraft. Its cabin layout uses 94 full-flat Prestige Sleeper seats on the upper deck plus 12 private Kosmo Suites and 301 economy class seats on the lower deck. This compares to European A380 operators such as Air France and Lufthansa, which both offer well over 500 seats on the aircraft.
However, this emphasis on high load factors is something that has hit carriers such as Air France, Qantas and Lufthansa, which have all seen a proportion of empty seats on their scheduled flights.
However, Asian carriers are marketing the A380’s space and quietness, which seems to be paying off.
Almost half the A380s flying to date (Airbus lists 132 in service as of May) is based with Asian carriers. Singapore Airlines has 19, Korean Air will take 10, Asiana Airlines, Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines will have six each, and China Southern Airlines has five.
In most of these cases, the seating plans favor the more open, higher appointment level approach. As Korean’s Jackson said, the airline’s intention is to “make inflight … a real attraction. These all help make the trip not so much about the destination, but also a memorable journey.”