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Korean Air Will Give Three Airbus A350 Planes to T'way Air

Korean Air Will Give Three Airbus A350 Planes to T'way Air

BY SANGHYUN KIM Published on February 28, 2024 0 COMMENTS

Korean Air is currently on a long journey to merge with Asiana Airlines, South Korea's second-largest airline. While the journey is almost finished, with Korean Air getting approval from every official except for the U.S., the airline still faces some issues to solve, including providing solutions for the expected monopoly of Korean Air in the Korean air market. One solution suggested was to supply T'way Air, a South Korean low-cost carrier (LCC), with five Airbus A330-200s from the Korean Air fleet. However, reports indicate that Korean Air is considering giving three Airbus A350-900s from the Asiana fleet once the merger is complete.


Photo: Daniel Mena | AeroXplorer


A Deeper Look at the Korean Air-Asiana Airlines Merger


Korean Air proposed buying Asiana Airlines in 2020 when the latter was put up for sale in 2019 by KUMHO Group, Asiana's holding company. There were many reasons why Asiana has deemed a loss, and after a proposed buyout from HDC, a large Korean development company, was canceled. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Korean Air decided to buy the airline again.


It has been three years, and the merger process has seen great progress. Talks with government officials and approval from ministry officials were made. Korean Air gained approval from 13 out of 14 countries, with the remaining country being the U.S. These approvals were not given for free to Korean Air, as each approval included certain conditions where the merger would be approved. 


Photo: Peter Cuthbert | AeroXplorer


For example, the conditions under approval from the European Union (EU), the latest party to approve, included the allocation of routes and slots to another Korean airline, which was later specified as T'Way Air, the only LCC in South Korea that has aircraft capable of long-haul routes.


To comply with this condition, Korean Air announced they would provide T'Way Air with five Airbus A330-200s and 100 flight crew from the Korean Air workforce on October 13, 2023. However, sources suggest that Korean Air has more than five Airbus A330s to give to T'Way, as Korean Air intends to provide three Airbus A350-900s from the Asiana fleet. 




According to The JoongAng news, Korean Air released a statement that says, "We are not able to confirm any details about the current ongoing corrective action, and also there are no confirmed matters regarding this intent".


Photo: Christopher Arboleda | AeroXplorer


T'Way Air's Long-Haul Routes


T'Way Air currently has three Airbus A330-300s, all of which fly short-haul routes to the Asia region and a single long-haul route to Sydney (SYD). However, adding A330s or A350s from Korean Air or Asiana will allow T'Way to serve additional European destinations from Seoul-Incheon (ICN). These destinations include:


  • Barcelona (BCN)
  • Frankfurt (FRA)
  • Paris (CDG)
  • Rome (FCO)




T'Way Air's addition to these routes is designed to prevent a monopoly. For example, the Barcelona and Rome routes are currently only served by Korean Air and Asiana, and the merger would make Korean Air the sole airline serving Barcelona. After the merger, only Korean Air and Air France would serve the Paris route, so adding T'Way gives consumers a wider selection and a cheaper choice. Korean Air and Asiana Airlines fly to several European destinations.


Photo: Ryan Wang | AeroXplorer


Asiana Airlines' Airbus A350-900s


Asiana Airlines currently has four A350-900s and 11 A350-900 HGW (High Gross Weight) variants and another 30 in its order book. All aircraft are leased and configured with 28 business class seats and 283 economy seats. Economy class consists of 36 extra legroom seats and 247 standard legroom seats. The economy class cabin is configured in a 3-3-3 layout, while the business class is configured in a 1-2-1 layout with aisle access for all seats.


Detailed plans on how the aircraft might be re-configured have yet to be published. Still, as T'Way Air retained the business class of its ex-Air Asia A330s, there is a possibility that the business class seats might remain in these aircraft as they are transferred to T'Way Air.


Photo: Aarush Malik | AeroXplorer




As Korean Air progresses towards its merger with Asiana Airlines, it constantly faces issues that must be addressed and has to provide solutions for problems. This includes providing a solution for an expected monopoly by giving T'Way Air A330s from its own fleet and possibly three A350s from the Asiana fleet. Korean Air has yet to respond to our information request and has not provided a statement other than denying that there is no confirmed news about this intent.



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Sanghyun Kim
Hey! My name is Sanghyun Kim, and I'm an aviation enthusiast based in Seoul, South Korea. I like flying, flying, and flying. Umm, maybe I like cars too, haha. I became a writer for AeroXplorer to spread interesting information like they have wings! I hope they reach every single person that is interested in aviation. Thank you! . SkyTeam Elite (Korean Air Morning Calm Club)

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