Korean Air’s first Airbus A380 superjumbo aircraft has taken to the skies for a final series of flight tests before being introduced to the fleet next month. The flight and ground tests are being carried out from the Airbus facility in Hamburg, where the aircraft has already been painted with the Korean Air livery, and fitted with the airline’s interiors. Once the final tests are complete, the A380 will fly to Toulouse for the delivery ceremony. Korean Air will become the sixth operator of the A380 when it begins flying the aircraft in June.
During the tests all cabin systems will be thoroughly tested, including air flow and air conditioning, lighting, galleys, bathrooms, seats and in-flight entertainment. Special on-board passenger amenities unique to Korean Air’s layout will also be tested, including its onboard duty free area. Korean Air’s A380 will offer just 407 seats; 12 First Class suites and 301 Economy Class seats on the lower deck, with the whole of the upper deck devoted to business travellers, with 94 Prestige Class seats. By contrast, Singapore Airlines’ A380 offers 471 seats, while Emirates offers up to 517 in a three-class configuration, and Air France can seat up to 538 passengers.
Korean Air has ordered 10 A380 aircraft with the first five to be delivered by the end of 2011 and an additional five by 2014.
The carrier will initially operate the A380 from Seoul to destinations in Asia, followed by trans-Pacific services to New York and Los Angeles.