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Korea flies in with Airbus A380 order.


AEROSPACE workers in North East Wales are flying high after news that Korean Air is to buy up to eight Airbus A380 superjumbo aircraft.

The announcement follows an order placed earlier this week by Middle East airline Emirates for 21 of the jets.

South Korea's largest airline is placing a firm order for five of the 555-seat aircraft with three options and says the huge jets, to be delivered from late 2007 into 2009, will fly from in its Incheon hub.

Wings for the A380 and all other aircraft in the Airbus family are made at Broughton, Flintshire, which employs 5,540 workers with the prospect of an additional 300 to 400 jobs before the end of the year.

Korean Air's decision to buy Airbus means the A380 now has 129 orders and commitments from 11 customers.

The plane is attracting airlines and leasing companies across the world because it incorporates the most advanced technologies,providing 15 to 20pc lower operating costs than the largest aircraft flying today and giving 10 to 15pcmore range.

Korean Air chairman Yang Ho Cho said: ``Our decision to purchase the A380 aircraft meets our strategy to reinforce Incheon International Airport as the strongest hub in North East Asia. As one of the leading airlines in Asia,our long- term fleet plan plays a significant role in this strategy.''

Airbus chief executive Noel Forgeard said: ``The A380 is especially well suited to respond to the needs of Asian carriers in the new century.

``Korean Air's commitment to the A380 is again a demonstration of its foresight into future market requirements. It also further confirms the fact that the A380 is the right aircraft that arrives at the right time on the market.''

Airbus' relationship with Korean Air dates back to 1974 when the airline became Airbus's first customer outside Europe.Today, the carrier remains one of Airbus' largest customers in the region,having placed total firm orders for 51 wide body types,comprising 32 A300s and 19 A330s.

Airbus' American rival Boeing said this week that it had signed an agreement with Korean Air to sell it nine new planes,including 747 jumbo jets.

On Monday Middle East airline Emirates confirmed it is to buy 41 Airbus jets worth about pounds 7.5bn,including 21 double-decker A380s.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jun 19, 2003
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