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Korean Air Moves to Replace Aging Boeings with Airbus

Knock-On Effects of Bungling Boeing Smart as Longtime Customer Jumps Ship

Korean Air placed a large order for Airbus A350s as they watch their aging Boeing 777-200ERs grow to almost 20 years old across the fleet.

The company has a handful of 777-300s that are even older, at just a hair under 25 years old on average. Korean Air does have 26 777-300ERs that aren't nearly as aged, however, with a fleet average of about 10 years across the board. Now, with Boeing's screwups on display for all the world to see, and deliveries bogging down across the industry, the smarter execs in the room are thinking about diversification. It's an unfortunate little shiv into the idea that some low-cost pioneers like Southwest Airlines leaned into quite heavily: An all-Boeing fleet was supposed to provide extensive cost savings and consistency. Fewer parts, unified type ratings and expertise, and a consistent customer experience are all nice to have, but the manufacturer dropping the ball so consistently? Not quite in the cards.

Undoubtedly Korean Air was holding the same conversations many other carriers are around the globe: Is it better to weather the storm with a diverse, but more expensive fleet instead of going all-in on one manufacturer? Korean Air ultimately surprised those in the know with an order for 27 A350-1000s, with 6 A350-900s on top of that. In the weeks leading up to the announcement, most cited an expected order of about 20 A350s for the carrier. The purchase is a first for the carrier bringing in the widebody Airbus, and it's evident on its face they're jumping in with both feet.

Benoit de Saint Exupéry, Executive VP of Sales, Commercial Aircraft, Airbus said the order is just further proof that the firm stands atop the widebody industry. "This order from Korean Air is another major endorsement for the A350 as the world's long range leader. The airline will benefit from new levels of efficiency across its operations, with significantly reduced fuel consumption and carbon emissions. The A350 will also be the perfect platform for the carrier to take its in-flight product and world class service to new heights. We thank Korean Air for its ongoing confidence in Airbus and its products, and look forward to seeing the A350 flying in the carrier's iconic livery."

FMI: www.airbus.com



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