THE TEAM THAT HELPED BUILD THE TRANSPACIFIC MARKET Boeing and Korean Air: Pivotal Players
EVERETT, WA (Aug. 27) – The Boeing Company and Korean Air have been and still are a powerful team in making the Transpacific passenger and airfreight corridor a dynamic and lucrative market.
Korean Air has been buying Boeing jet airplanes since 1971, and the airline was the first to fly 747 cargo planes across the Pacific. It has grown into the world’s largest cargo carrier and one the top 20 global passenger airlines, serving 114 cities in 38 countries, with a fleet of 18 Boeing 777s, 45 Boeing 747-400s, and 32 Boeing 737s, among other aircraft.
Korean Air today took possession of the 3000th widebody jet produced at Boeing’s Everett site, and it becomes the 124th aircraft in the current fleet and the 113th Boeing product in the airline’s growing fleet.
“We need this plane to fill an enormous demand,” says Korean Air’s North American marketing director John Jackson. “There aren’t enough airline seats between North America and China… and we’re using the 777 for many of our North American routes.
Jackson says that Korean Air has been planning for this China activity for a long time. “Our growth from the US to China has skyrocketed 55% year-on-year, and this surge probably will continue through at least 2010. We’ll fill our planes as quickly as they become part of our fleet.”
Currently the airline has on order ten 777s, five 737NGs, ten 787 Dreamliners, five 747-freighters and five 777 freighters. Deliveries will go on for at least the next decade.
Boeing is the largest supplier of aircraft to Asian airlines and has been throughout the jet transport era. During that time, Korean Air quietly started its Transpacific cargo operation in 1971, with passenger service quickly to follow. The airline now has 12 North American gateways and flies to more cities in China from more cities in North America than any other airline. Meanwhile, it’s the largest transpacific carrier from two of America’s most important centers: New York and Los Angeles.
Korean Air’s North American gateways include Seattle, with four flights a week, most filled and many connecting to China and other parts of Asia. “We started passenger service from Seattle in 2005, and have seen more than a 100 percent increase in our China traffic from here each year, year on year,” Jackson says. “Our market share has more than doubled and they’re all flying on 777 aircraft.”
Jackson says that Korean Air is so committed to its China strategy that it’s proclaimed China as its second home market.
‘We’re positioning ourselves as America’s preferred airline to China, and provide more access between the two countries than any other airline in the world,” Jackson commented.
And the airline is putting its money where its mouth is.
“We’ve launched an ad campaign in the US – worth tens of millions of dollars – to support our claim.” Jackson adds. “You’ll be seeing Korean Air on TV and in print, and we’ll be showcasing our reach and style.”
Jackson says Korean Air has a decided advantage over US domestic carriers whose rights to China are restricted and parceled out by the DOT. There are no such restrictions on Korean Air, which flies to more than 20 cities in China, with plans to add more destinations each year. Using, of course, Everett-produced aircraft.