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Korean Air Lines Celebrates 50 Years of U.S. Service

Updated: Dec 28, 2022

Korean Air today celebrated a half century of service to the U.S. On April 19, 1972 one of the carrier’s Boeing 707s took off from Seoul Gimpo Airport, making stops in Tokyo and Honolulu before landing in Los Angeles.

Korean Air Boeing 707 - Courtesy Korean Air Lines

On Tuesday (April 19, 2022), Korean Air Lines celebrated 50 years of service to the United States. The carrier’s first flight to the U.S. was operated with a 171-seat Boeing 707, departing Seoul Gimpo Airport on April 19, 1972, and making stops in Tokyo and Honolulu before landing in Los Angeles. In 1972, Korean Air carried a total of 43,800 passengers between the Seoul and the U.S., growing to over three million passengers by 2019. The nonstop flying time has also been reduced from 17 hours to 11 hours. Initially serving only two American cities, Honolulu and Los Angeles, Korean Air now serves 13 North American gateways, and maintains their U.S. headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. Currently, the airline services routes between Korea and the Americas with Boeing 777s and 787 Dreamliners.

Commenting on Korean Air’s latest milestone, joint venture partner Delta Air Lines’ Vice President – Asia Pacific, Matteo Curcio, said,

“As a proud joint venture partner, we want to congratulate Korean Air on the significant milestone of connecting the U.S. and Korea for a half-century. We look forward to working together to seamlessly connect even more customers between the Americas and Asia via our Incheon hub for years to come.”

Korean Air Team Members Celebrate the Launch of Trans-Pacific Service to the U.S. at Seoul Gimpo Airport on April 19, 1972 - Courtesy Korean Air

Since launching U.S. service a half century ago, Korean Air has grown into a major international carrier serving 120 cities in 43 countries. In 2000, Korean Air also co-founded the SkyTeam alliance with Delta Air Lines, Aeroméxico and Air France. The airline also launched a trans-Pacific joint venture with Delta Air Lines in 2018, providing guests seamless connections to over 290 U.S. cities and 80 destinations in Asia.

To mark 50 years of U.S. Service, Korean Air received a proclamation from the City of Los Angeles in acknowledgement of the airline’s role in fostering economic and cultural relations between Korea and the U.S. - Courtesy Korean Air

Over the last 50 years, Korean Air has contributed significantly to the U.S. economy through robust economic, social and cultural exchange via passenger and cargo service. Approximately 11,000 direct and indirect jobs have been created by the 13 North American cities served by the airline, adding around $110 million annually to the economy. Prior to the pandemic, approximately 1.11 million Koreans traveled on Korean Air to the U.S., spending an estimated $4.0 billion during their stay. The airline also operates dedicated cargo terminals at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Korean Air Cargo also recently launched two new U.S. gateways at Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio and Chicago Rockford International Airport in Rockford, Illinois.

Source: Korean Air


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