The clock is ticking on Asiana Airlines’ A380 fleet as the South Korean airline prepares to be taken over by long-time competitor Korean Airlines.
The two airlines will merge by 2024, resulting in a total fleet of 16 superjumbos – the world’s largest after only Emirates (as Singapore Airlines halves its A380 fleet from 24 to just 12).
And for Korean Airlines, it’s sixteen A380s for many – meaning that Asia’s A380s, along with its own, will be put on the grass over the next few years.
“A380s to leave Korean Air’s fleet within five years,” Korean Air CEO Walter Cho recently confirmed to industry publication FlightGlobal. This means that both Korean Air and Asiana will join the list of airlines for having dropped the A380s – among them Lufthansa, Air France, Etihad, Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways.
Asiana arrived quite late for the superjumbo party and received its first A380 in May 2014 – the same year as Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, in what was to be Airbus’ last order round.
(ANA’s three superjumbo, delivered from 2019, were inherited from an order from the Japanese airline Skymark as part of its restructuring of investment in the bankrupt airline.)
But while Etihad and Qatar pulled back the curtains on the A380s with plenty of flair, such as Etihad’s three-room Residence and Qatar’s spacious and elegant inflight lounge, Asia’s treatment of the double-decker jet was more measured.
The 12 premium suites looked more like those of Emirates and Singapore Airlines, with sliding doors to privacy and a seat that transformed into a lavishly full flat bed and a 32-inch HD screen, then the largest of its kind.
Although the ‘double bed’ configuration of SQ’s adjoining A380 suites was not possible …
… each suction’s accompanying seat allowed for some simpler interactions between tall flyers.
At the front of the upper deck there was a modest lounge area where business class passengers could stretch their legs, have a snack or a drink and chat with other travelers.
But there were certainly no flourishes such as. The tax-free boutique in Korea Air’s A380s!
As previously reported, once Asiana is absorbed into Korean Airlines, it will also leave the Star Alliance group, which will not only weaken the world’s largest alliance a bit, but also strengthen the joint venture between SkyTeam partners Korean Air and Delta Air Lines.