Korean Air has welcomed the Airbus A380 back to its fleet. Having reactivated one of its ten A380s, the airline is now operating the giant of the skies from its Seoul Incheon hub to Guangzhou in China.
While, unfortunately, remaining an incredibly unpopular aircraft type given the current circumstances, it seems as though the jumbo Airbus A380 is slowly regaining its place on the world’s busiest routes. While China Southern never stopped flying the A380, Emirates also returned the aircraft to service earlier this summer, operating the type on multiple routes. While some are phasing the type out, Korean Air has also returned the type to service.
According to the Korean Air schedule, the airline will fly the Airbus A380 once per week to the Chinese city of Guangzhou. The weekly flight is set to take place on Wednesdays, observing the following schedule:
- Flight KE 865 will depart from Seoul’s Incheon Airport (ICN) at 08:50. Following a three hour 40 minute flight, the giant of the skies will touch down in Guangzhou (CAN) at 11:30.
- The Airbus A380 will then remain on the ground in China for one hour and 50 minutes.
- Flight KE 866 will then depart from Guangzhou at 13:20. Having flown for three hours and 35 minutes, it will touch back down in Seoul’s Incheon Airport at 17:55.
Guangzhou A380 hub
However, Korean Air isn’t the only Airbus A380 operator on the route. On Thursdays, China Southern is also operating a weekly Airbus A380 flight between Guangzhou and Seoul. The addition of flights by Korean Air means that Guangzhou now has the most active A380 operators. While most airports currently have one or two A380 airlines, if they’re lucky, Guangzhou will have three. Alongside Korean Air and China Southern who is based there, Emirates is also flying to the Airport.
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A flight to nowhere first
Korean Air has reactivated its Airbus A380 registered as HL7614. This aircraft is 9.6 years old, having taken its first flight in March 2011, according to Planespotters.net. However, the last time the aircraft flew was on a flight from Paris to Seoul on March 5th, over half a year ago.
The airline needed to make sure that the aircraft was safe to fly before loading it with passengers. Storing an aircraft involves many things such as sealing egress points and removing the aircraft’s batteries, hence the need to make sure that everything is back as it should be.
On September 28th, the aircraft embarked on a one and three quarter hour test flight. The flight saw Korean flying the aircraft down to the island of Jeju, before turning towards Busan, then returning to Incheon. The aircraft reached heights of 32,000 feet above South Korea. According to data from FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft went around on its first landing at Seoul, though this may have been intentional.
When was the last time that you flew on an Airbus A380? Let us know your experience in the comments!