Asiana to Buy Six A380 Jets

Asiana Airlines is bolstering its long-haul flights by buying six A380 jumbo passenger jets by 2017, said Kim Soo-cheon, who became president of the carrier last year, on Monday. The first two will go into service by June of this year.

That will boost the number of Asiana's aircraft from 37 to 48, with mid-sized to large planes with two aisles accounting for 60 percent, up from 50 percent now.

Kim said Asiana will "focus on strengthening existing long-range flights rather than opening new flights" to extricate itself from the doldrums amid heated competition from budget airlines.

The first two A380s will ply the routes from Incheon to Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Narita.

Described as "flying hotels" for their spacious interiors, Asiana's new jumbo jets will come with 495 seats as against Korean Air 407-seater version, chiefly to accommodate more economy-class seats.

Kim projected the strategy of increasing passenger numbers per flight will allow it to swing into profit this year, reaching sales of W6 trillion (US$1=W1,073) and operating profit of W180 billion.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 11, 2014 12:42 KST