An order for six Airbus A380s by South Korean flag carrier Asiana Airlines today takes the total firm orders for the world’s largest passenger jet to 240.
Asiana will not introduce the A380 until 2014 and says they will fly on premium routes to Europe and the US.
The airline’s larger South Korean rival, Korean Airlines, has 10 A380s on firm order and will put the first of these into service between Seoul and Narita in May before moving the jet to its Los Angeles schedule.
By coincidence Singapore Airlines, the world’s first A380 operator, recently announced that it would launch flights to Los Angeles with the giant Airbus via a city in Asia, with most observers expecting that it would use Seoul as the transit point.
Asiana’s order is sufficient to operate three daily return flights between Seoul and cities such as Los Angeles, London and Paris. It has not yet chosen between the Rolls-Royce engine option or that offered by the Engine Alliance partnership between GE and Pratt & Whitney.
The flight stages between Seoul and the main European cities or Los Angeles are shorter than the routes between LAX and Australia, and do not need the higher engine thrust settings uniquely required by Qantas A380s to make those flights with a commercially viable payload.
Qantas is expected to announce by the end of this week that it will resume its A380s flights to Los Angeles on or about January 17.