Korean Air plans to drop first class service on 27 routes operated by Boeing 787-9s, 777-300ERs and Airbus A330s from 1 June.
The SkyTeam carrier says that the change is aimed at achieving “better operational efficiency” and reflects low demand for first class on several the routes.
It already operates in a dual-class (business and economy) arrangement on 47 routes, which will be joined by Toronto, Vancouver, Barcelona, Madrid, Istanbul, Zagreb, Brisbane, Auckland, Nadi and its Seoul Incheon-Tokyo Narita-Honolulu services will change to dual-class operations. Similarly, St Petersburg, Vladivostok, Irkustk and Tashkent will also become dual-class services.
Korean Air's first 787 in February 2017
Closer to home, all routes to Japan, except for Seoul Gimpo to Tokyo Haneda and Osaka Kansai, and Seoul Incheon-Narita and Kansai, will move to dual-class operations.
First class will be removed from most of its routes to Southeast Asia, Japan and China, with some exceptions to cities including Bangkok, Singapore, and Shanghai.
Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer shows that the carrier has first class seats on 29 A330s, 24 777-300ERs and all 10 of its 787-9s.
Korean Air also has first class seats on its 10 747-8 Intercontinentals, 10 A380s and 14 777-200ERs.
The reduction in first class service comes after chief executive Walter Cho told FlightGlobal in October 2018 that there was still a market for first class, “so we will try to keep it as long as we can.”