SEOUL, South Korea–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, Korean Air celebrates its 50th anniversary serving the Americas.

On this date 50 years ago, a Korean Air Boeing 707 took off from Seoul Gimpo Airport, making stops in Tokyo and Honolulu before landing in Los Angeles. Korean Air’s inaugural passenger flight from Seoul to Los Angeles marked the beginning of the central role the airline would play in fostering economic and cultural relations between Korea and the U.S.

50 years of contribution to the transpacific market

Since the launch of its first U.S. route, Korean Air has grown into one of the largest transpacific airlines.

The airline began by serving only two cities in the U.S. – Honolulu and Los Angeles. It now flies out of 13 gateways across North America with its Americas headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. While the airline carried about 43,800 passengers between the U.S. and Seoul in 1972, it flew over 3 million passengers between the U.S. and Korea in 2019 (pre-COVID).

The flying time has also been reduced to 11 hours from 17 hours on its nonstop flight. The airline initially used a 171-seater Boeing 707 on its first route to the U.S, and it now operates the Boeing 787 and Boeing 777 on the Americas routes.

Supporting the U.S. economy for 50 years

For the past 50 years, Korean Air has contributed greatly to the U.S. economy by propelling economic, social and cultural exchange between the two countries through both its passenger and cargo network.

Approximately 11,000 direct and indirect jobs have been created in related businesses in the 13 cities served by the airline, adding about USD 110 million per year in added value through labor market and consumption.

Pre-COVID, approximately 1.11 million Koreans traveled on Korean Air flights to the U.S. annually, and they are estimated to have spent about USD 4 billion during their stay.

Dedicated cargo terminals in Los Angeles and at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport support cargo operations for both Korean Air and other airlines, serving as hubs in both the Eastern and Western United States.

The airline is estimated to have created 100,000 jobs, and to have generated an economic effect of USD 17 billion over the past half century.

As a global leading airline

Since the launch of its first U.S. route, Korean Air has grown into a major global airline serving 120 cities in 43 countries. The airline not only co-founded the SkyTeam Alliance together with Delta Air Lines, Aeroméxico and Air France in 2000, but also launched a transpacific joint venture with Delta Air Lines in 2018, connecting customers to more than 290 cities in the US and 80 points in Asia. Its transpacific joint venture is considered the industry’s most comprehensive.

“As a proud joint venture partner, we want to congratulate Korean Air on the significant milestone of connecting the U.S. and Korea for a half-century,” said Matteo Curcio, Vice President – Asia Pacific, Delta Air Lines. “We look forward to working together to seamlessly connect even more customers between the Americas and Asia via our Incheon hub for years to come.”

Korean Air continued to serve the U.S. throughout the pandemic, and the airline delivered thousands of tons of cargo such as e-commerce products, semiconductor parts, medical supplies and COVID test kits, fruits and vegetables, and K-pop-related items. The airline also launched two new gateways in the US – Rickenbacker International Airport (Columbus, Ohio) and Chicago Rockford International Airport (Rockford, Illinois) – that have strengthened the airline’s cargo transpacific network and helped alleviate some of US supply chain issues.

About Korean Air

Korean Air, established in 1969, is one of the world’s top 20 airlines and carried more than 27 million passengers in 2019, pre-COVID. The airline serves 120 cities in 43 countries on five continents; it has a modern fleet of 154 aircraft and employs over 20,000 professional employees. Its global hub is at Incheon International Airport (ICN) and its core businesses are passenger, cargo, aerospace, and aviation maintenance and repair.

Korean Air is a founding member of the SkyTeam airline alliance – 19 member airlines working together across an extensive global network to welcome 676 million customers each year on more than 15,445 daily flights to 1,036 destinations in 170 countries (pre-COVID.)

Korean Air’s joint venture with Delta Air Lines has produced significant expediency and access to hundreds of destinations in the Americas on Delta and 80 points in Asia on Korean Air. Korean Air and Delta co-locate in Incheon’s beautiful Terminal 2, making connections between Asia and America some of the industry’s quickest.

With more than 50 years of serving the world, Korean Air’s vision is to be a respected leader in the world airline community, dedicated to providing Excellence in Flight. Its commitment to airline safety, cleanliness and comfort are renowned.

More on Korean Air’s programs, routes, frequencies and partners is available at koreanair.com, Korean Air Newsroom, facebook.com/KoreanAir, instagram.com/KoreanAirworld/ and Twitter@KoreanAir_KE.

Contacts

Lisa Gritzner

Cell: (323) 474-5516

Email: lisa@lgstrategies.net

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