|Korean Air 787-9 Dreamliner / Courtesy of Korean Air|
By Kim Hyun-bin
Korean Air is expanding its private jet business, introducing an additional B787-8 Dreamliner. Korean Air introduced the B787-8 (HL8508) business jet on June 10th, increasing the number of private business aircraft to four. The 787-8 is manufactured by Boeing of the United States.
Unlike regular airplanes, the Dreamliner is modified for luxury purposes with seating greatly reduced and convenient facilities such as a private living room, bar, and bedroom. The aircraft was manufactured in February 2015 and has 39 seats.
The airplane departs from the Seoul Gimpo Business Aviation Center (SGBAC), a business-only terminal. Users can go through immigration procedures in 5 minutes and can use the VIP lounge, crew lounge, and meeting rooms.
In particular, the 787-8 is a large aircraft capable of traveling from Korea to all parts of the U.S. directly. The luxury jets are leased to VVIPs including CEOs and celebrities. Korean Air is expanding its private jet business targeting the government and leading domestic and foreign companies.
There were speculations that Samsung, which doesn't operate a private aircraft, will lease the B787-8 aircraft, unlike Hyundai Motor Company, SK, and Hanwha, which have their own private jets.
"We have introduced the plane, but the plane's use is undecided," a Korean Air spokesman said.
Korean Air's introduction of the aircraft comes amid a positive outlook on the aviation market. The industry estimates that the business jet market will grow at an average annual rate of more than 5 percent and reach 40 trillion won in size by 2025.
However, Korea's business jet market is still relatively underdeveloped. The use of private planes at SGBAC totaled around 2,000 flights in 2019 before the pandemic.