After receiving regulatory approval to modify the widebody aircraft, the SkyTeam carrier, Korean Air has commenced cargo operations with Boeing 777-300ER.
According to the reports, the aircraft, registered as ‘HL8208’, operated its first cargo flight on September 08, 2020 from Seoul Incheon to Columbus, Ohio in the United States.
Korean Air said in a statement that Columbus has become an emerging cargo base for American retail and logistics companies.
“Korean Air is meeting the demand for items such as automobile parts, electronic devices and garments,” the statement added.
The aircraft is said to have recently received the regulatory nod for modifications, allowing the aircraft to carry 32.8t of cargo, up from the 22t that it can usually carry as belly cargo, says reports.
The modifications included removal of aircraft’s inflight electrical wiring with placards and locking mechanisms on the cabin floor installed and 269 seats.
Cirium fleets data indicates that Korean Air took delivery of the aircraft in 2010. In total, the carrier has 26 777-300ER passenger aircraft in its fleet, all powered by GE Aviation’s GE90-115B engines and ranging from 1.2 to 11.3 years old. Its maindeck freighter fleet comprises 12 777Fs, seven 747-8Fs, and four 747-400ERFs.
Cargo has proven to be a lucrative revenue source for the carrier, helping push it to profitability in what would have been an otherwise challenging period amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The carrier states that between April to September, it operated an average of 420 cargo-only flights a month with passenger aircraft, with the average monthly transport volume reaching 12,000t. It has utilised aircraft such as 777-300s, 787-9s and Airbus A330-300s for such operations.