Despite the recent economic slowdown, many air carriers around the world are making massive investments to satisfy customers’ heightened expectations for air travel.
Asiana Airlines is one of the leading carriers making the effort to satisfy customers’ needs by upgrading in-flight facilities, meals and service quality.
An illustration of Asiana’s new business class seat the OZ Quadra Smartium
Last month, Asiana Airlines introduced new business class seats that can recline 180 degrees.
The country’s No. 2 air carrier said it would invest $15 million to fit four airplanes with the new seats, called “OZ Quadra Smartium,” by next year. It so far has completed the renovation in one airplane.
The newly-designed airplanes are planned to run on long-haul destinations to cities in the United States, Europe and Australia, it added.
The carrier reduced the number of business-class seats from 32 to 24 and presented a staggered layout of seats to allow more privacy and space for travelers. Fliers will have as much as 15 more inches of space between the seats, according to the air carrier.
Apart from the table for meals, the planes will also be equipped with another smaller table on the side for laptops or newspapers and a security box to store valuable goods.
To stimulate passengers’ appetites, the air carrier plans to offer new meal options in cooperation with renowned Korean chef Edward Kwon.
Kwon, who served as head chef of the seven-star Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, will present the new in-flight meals from Aug. 1 on flights heading to Europe.
The menu will include grilled halibut with thyme and mashed potato for business passengers and chicken breast with onion puree for economy-class passengers.
Asiana plans to expand the new meal service to other international routes.
The air carrier has also been upgrading the in-flight equipment for other types of cabin and working on new fuel-efficient planes in the near future.
The air carrier recently completed $70 million worth of upgrading of in-flight facilities.
It signed a contract with Airbus, one of the world’s largest airplane manufacturers, to purchase 30 A350 extra-wide planes by 2016. It will spend $6.7 billion on new planes.
The next-generation Airbus planes are environmentally friendly as they use 15-20 percent less energy.
The air carrier has been making steady investments in enhancing in-flight comfort since 2004 for A330 and B777 models by installing mini-bars, bed-like seats and individual audio and video entertainment systems. In addition to the existing facilities, the air carrier started operating A330 flights for long-haul operations with upgraded seats that offer more comfort and space, plus enlarged LCD monitors to keep passengers occupied.
For both long-haul flights and the single-aisle A321s used in shorter flights, the air carrier has installed a new in-flight entertainment system that includes an electricity socket and USB ports. This makes Asiana the first Korean carrier to offer this kind of convenience to passengers taking narrow-body flights, it said.
“Asiana’s investment is aimed at enhancing the in-flight environment and travel quality for their committed customers,” an Asiana official said.
Last year, Asiana was selected as Airline of the Year by Penton Media’s Air Transport World. The award, referred to as the Nobel Prize of the aviation industry, is granted to an airline for outstanding overall performance in the global market. Asiana is the first Korean air carrier and fifth in Asia to receive the honor.
The air carrier’s stellar service once again was recognized this year.
Asiana was named as Airline of the year 2010 at Skytrex world airline awards, known as the passengers’ choice awards.
The award is based on a survey participated in by more than 17.9 million air travelers from more than 100 different nations between July 2009 and April 2010.
By Cho Chung-un (email@example.com)