Korean Air (KAL) is expected to sign a contract with FlightSafety Boeing Training International by the middle of this month, covering a broad training programme for the airline's pilots.

KAL, which is trying to restore its reputation after a series of accidents and incidents, is expected to hand over responsibility for all initial and recurrent simulator training and "pilot tracking" to FlightSafety Boeing for two years from July, senior KAL sources told Flight International's sister on-line service Air Transport Intelligence. The contract could be worth $30 million. FlightSafety Boeing was contacted after Delta Air Lines, which has been assisting the carrier with safety improvements, decided it had "insufficient resources" to help KAL train instructors.

The airline's reputation has plummeted since the crash of a Boeing 747-300 on Guam in August 1997. Since then, the airline has suffered three more hull losses and a series of landing incidents. In April, a KAL Boeing MD-11 freighter crashed shortly after take-off from Shanghai.

The airline is talking to Boeing about swapping its four remaining MD-11s (two freighters and two scheduled for conversion this year) for 747-400 freighters. President and chief executive Shim Yi-Taek says KAL is also likely to order 747-400Fs to replace -200Fs and is understood to be considering an offer from Atlas Air to wet-lease 747-200Fs or 747-400Fs.

Source: Flight International