Korean Air Cargo has taken delivery of a 777F and 747-8F, the first time Boeing has delivered two different commercial cargo models on the same day to a customer.
In an event at the airframer's Everett, Washington facility on 6 February, senior Boeing and Korean Air Cargo executives signed documents marking the official handover of the two cargo aircraft, which included the first 747-8F for the carrier.
Despite a slowdown in the cargo market, Korean Air senior vice president corporate strategy and planning Walter Cho, said: "It was a good time to expand because everyone else is shrinking. We have the capability for long-term investments where others may not so we're looking at the long-term picture."
© Jon Ostrower
Noting the cargo market will eventually rebound, Cho said: "It is going to come back up and we're prepared for that. We are looking at a hard, tough year. We're almost close to the bottom [of the cargo market] if we're not already there."
The 747-8F, which will replace Korean's older 747-400Fs, is the first of two Korean Air Cargo will take delivery of in 2012, deploying the aircraft next week on flights from the US east coast. The carrier is also the first airline to operate both the 747-8F and 777F.
The General Electric GEnx-2B-powered 747-8F will also serve transpacific routes, said Korean, with stops planned in Osaka, Narita, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The 777F will be used for growth in Europe, flying to London, Frankfurt and Vienna.
Cho acknowledged the 747-8F's excess fuel burn and extra weight, saying that performance improvement packages are expected toward the end of 2012.
Korean Air holds orders for seven 747-8F aircraft and five 777Fs, two of which have now been delivered. The airline also has five 747-8 Intercontinental aircraft on order.
By 2016, when Korean Air accepts it first 787-9, the airline and its cargo arm will be the only operator to fly each of the three GEnx-powered aircraft--the 747-8 Intercontinental, 747-8F and the 787-9.
© Jon Ostrower