Andrzej Jeziorski/SEOUL


Korean Air's (KAL) cargo division is undertaking a rationalising and renewal of its freighter fleet and has wet-leased an Atlas Air Boeing 747-400F as it boosts transpacific frequencies.

According to KAL, the Atlas deal was restricted by local regulations to two weeks from mid-July, after which the lease will be replaced by a 100% blocked-space agreement. The South Korean law restricting the lease period is expected to be changed in August.

Atlas will operate the aircraft for KAL from Seoul-Anchorage-Los Angeles and back to Seoul,.

KAL says it is boosting weekly cargo flights to other US destinations as the South Korean export market improves. Frequencies from Seoul to New York will be increased from eight to 10, to Dallas from three to four, and to San Francisco from eight to nine. All the additional frequencies will be served by 747-400Fs. KAL's cargo fleet includes 10 747-200Fs, three 747-400Fs, two Boeing MD-11Fs and two Airbus A300F4s.

It aims to replace the 747-200Fs with -400Fs over the next five years. Three more -400Fs are on order - two for delivery next year and the third in 2001. Two 747-200Fs are due for disposal next year and president and chief executive Shim Yi-Taek says KAL will continue to buy one to two more 747-400Fs each year so that the last 747-200Fs can be phased out.

Buyers are also being sought for KAL's two A300 freighters, which it wants to sell this year. Shim says that the airline is considering selling its two remaining MD-11Fs (one was lost in an accident last April), as well as the two additional MD-11s undergoing freighter conversion this year.

Source: Flight International