The Korean Air Story

Our vision: To be a respected leader in the world airline community.

Korean Air employees and executives are cutting  off tape at Boeing company for a ceremony of their fist B747

In 1969, Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. was in decline. An offer to privatise the airline by the Hanjin Group, specialists in transportation, was the start of a new chapter in growth and success. Although the challenge was never easy,  Korean Air established itself as a respectable company and carrier by opening its transpacific route in 1971 and its first Seoul-Paris freight route in 1973.

Always looking ahead, the company laid the groundwork for the future when it ordered American Boeing Company's B747 Jumbo in 1972, plus 6 additional Airbus A300 models in its early years.

In 1979, Korean Air launched a new service with direct passenger flights to New York, a gateway to expanding its routes for both passengers and freight throughout the 1980s. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and an aeronautical agreement with China in 1994 opened the skies to exciting new Korean Air route networks.

Korean Air introduced its 100th aircraft in 1995 and displayed consistent growth until the mid 1990s. It was then that new challenges arose, including oversaturation of the aviation industry and increasingly intense competition. Under such circumstances, President Yang Ho Cho, son of founder Choong Hoon Cho, became the Chairman and CEO, bringing his innovative mindset and excellent business sense to the company.

President Yang Ho Cho leads Korean Air according to his father's business philosophy and methods. Under his leadership, Korean Air joined distinguished world carriers such as Delta Air Lines, Air France and Aeroméxico to establish a truly world-class air alliance, SkyTeam.

Reflecting on his father's influence during an interview in 2008, President Yang Ho Cho remarked,

"My father did not imitate the market - he was a pioneer. He didn't waste time trying to make imitations or get involved in competitions. He focused only on building a new business."

The company celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2004 with a celebration and rededication to service by adopting the slogan, "Excellence in Flight." The following year, a new, fresh and future-oriented CI (Corporate Identity) was created as a measure to achieve such vision and mission. 

Today, Korean Air is an innovative leader in the global aviation industry known for its dedicated service that surpasses client expectations. It is not only adored by domestic passengers, but also loved by customers all over the world, and it is soaring to higher levels. 

Visit Korean Air History

Korean Air 50 Years

Operating Revenue

Please refer to the below detailed explanation
Operating Revenue Details (Billions, KRW)
  1969 1980 1990 2000 2018
Operating Revenue 4 559 1,679 5,559 12,655

Fleet

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Number of Aircrafts
  1969 1980 1990 2000 2018
Fleet 11 37 72 112 166

Destinations

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Number of Destinations
  1969 1980 1990 2000 2018
Destinations 7 26 42 77 124

Revenue Passenger Carried

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Thousands, number passenger carried
  1969 1980 1990 2000 2018
Revenue Passenger Carried 695 3,601 12,259 22,065 26,820

Revenue Passenger-Kilometers

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Millions per kilometers, KRW
  1969 1980 1990 2000 2018
Revenue Passenger-kilometers 286 10,893 19,277 40,248 80,189

Revenue Freight Carried

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Revenue Freight Carried - Thousand, Tons
  1969 1980 1990 2000 2018
Revenue Freight carried 3 143 511 1,278 1,615

Revenue Freight-Kilometers

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Revenue Freight-kilometers - Millions Tons per Kilometers, KRW
  1969 1980 1990 2000 2018
Revenue Freight-kilometers 2 958 2,526 6,416 8,293

Corporate Identity

The symbol and logo of Korean Air reflects our desire to be a leading airline in the world's aviation industry.

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