HAMBURG, Germany ― Asiana Airlines, the nation’s second-largest carrier, unveiled its first Airbus 380 to the Korean press on March 26 at an Airbus facility in Hamburg.
According to Airbus, a France-based commercial jet manufacturer, about 24 employees at Airbus’ Hamburg paint shop spent 12 days painting the first A380 plane for Asiana Airlines in the carrier’s colors.
Painting a giant airplane is intensive work, as the painters must apply three separate coats of paint ― the primer, customer colors and the final top-coat.
“Once the painting is done, it means we are nearing the final process of constructing our first super jumbo jet,” said Cho Young-seok, vice president of public relations at Asiana Airlines.
|Asiana’s first A380 flight is taken out of a paint shop at Airbus’ Hamburg facilities Wednesday. (Joint Press Corps)|
Sean Lee, the communications director covering Asia at Airbus, said, “The remaining processes before the flight delivery to Korea are interior installment, a test flight and celebrations (to mark the launch).”
According to Asiana, the new double-decker jumbo jet is scheduled to arrive in Incheon International Airport on May 30 in preparation for its June 13 debut.
In August, the jet will begin its first long-range flight to Los Angeles.
Asiana has anticipated adding the 500-seat super jumbo jet to get back on its feet and swing to the black this year by increasing the proportion of long-haul flights.
In 2013, the nation’s No. 2 air carrier posted 11.2 billion won ($10.4 million) in operating losses, but the company expects to make a turnaround this year.
Asiana said it will introduce its second A380 plane in the second quarter and will increase the number of A380 flights to 6 by 2017.
Asiana’s first A380 flight will have 495 seats, 88 more than the A380 operated by its rival Korean Air.
The new aircraft will have 12 first class suites, 66 business class seats and 417 economy class seats, Asiana said.
Regarding the interior design and operations of Asiana’s first A380 flight, the company said it would put a priority on in-flight privacy. For instance, it would provide first-class suites with two sliding doors, the first to be offered by a Korean airline.
By Seo Jee-yeon, Korea Herald correspondent