Korean Air will invest W10 billion to build a cutting-edge sled for the national bobsledding team (US$1=W1,077).
The Olympic bobsleigh event involves sleds reaching speeds of up to 153 km/h, and their quality has a major influence on the performance of the athletes. Global automakers like BMW and Ferrari have made bobsleds, but it is rare for an airline to produce one.
"We decided to develop a bobsled using our skills and knowhow in the field of aerodynamics so that our athletes will be able to perform at their best at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics,” a Korean Air spokesman said Monday.
Cho Yang-ho, chairman of Hanjin Group, which owns Korean Air, made the decision after meeting with the Korean bobsled team at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
Cutting-edge technology will go into the production of the sleds, which race in events where victory is based on razor-thin margins. Korean Air will tap into its knowledge of light yet strong synthetic materials used in B787 and A380 wings to produce bobsleds that carry two or four athletes.
A prototype is to be built by November.
Korean Air's own researchers as well as around 20 experts from Sungkyunkwan University, Inha University, Korea National Sport University and the University of Southern California will take part in the design.