November 14, 2007 09:15
Korea's airlines are joining the race to improve their cabins. Korean Air and Asiana Airlines are spending enormous sums of money to upgrade their cabins by revamping the interiors of existing planes or buying new jets. That's because having the latest plane can directly influence passenger numbers. Industry insiders say it's about time the airlines remodeled as many of their jets were bought in the mid- to late-1990s and have been showing their age.
Cabin remodeling focuses on changing the seating for business and first class fliers, upgrading entertainment systems, and changing seat covers and curtains and other decor. The ergonomic Cosmo Sleeper Seat that Korean Air introduced in its first class cabin can fully recline to a bed position and comes with a massage function.
On Asiana Airlines' Boeing 747 jets, which began remodeling in October, every seat will have an audio/video on demand (AVOD) entertainment system when the upgrade is done on Nov. 24. Passengers will be able to enjoy entertainment programs on their own screens whenever they want instead of watching a centrally controlled one.
Korean Air has remodeled 17 planes since 2005 and plans to upgrade 32 more by 2012, spending W150 million (US$1=W918) in the process. The airline also plans to gradually introduce 25 new jets, including the Boeing 787 and Airbus 380 starting in 2009.
Meanwhile, Asiana has begun a W67 million project to remodel more than half of its 28 mid-to-long-haul jets. The rest of the airline's fleet is brand new.
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