Big Planes, Big Plans

Korean Air­lines vice pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing for the Amer­i­cas John Jack­son talks the A380, In­cheon con­nec­tions and cus­tomer fo­cus

Business Traveler (USA) - - UPFRONT -

BT: What’s Korean Air­lines’ strat­egy be­hind ramp­ing up routes us­ing the Air­bus A380? With the ad­di­tion of At­lanta-Seoul last month, you’re up to three des­ti­na­tions now in North Amer­ica.

Jack­son: Re­ally, At­lanta wasn’t a ca­pac­ity ques­tion as much as it was, we just wanted to put the best pos­si­ble prod­uct in that mar­ket that’s al­ways been strong for us, par­tic­u­larly with the busi­ness trav­eler.

BT: Some car­ri­ers say they’re us­ing the A380 as a way to boost ca­pac­ity with­out adding fre­quen­cies.

Jack­son: The ap­proach we’ve al­ways taken with that air­craft is that it is truly a high­qual­ity lux­ury prod­uct. Our seat con­fig­u­ra­tion only to­tals 407. I think the av­er­age for all the car­ri­ers fly­ing the A380 is 525, 530 pas­sen­gers. So imag­ine tak­ing a small 737 worth of pas­sen­gers off of the plane, and us­ing the same space for the con­fig­u­ra­tion that we’ve got. It’s pretty im­pres­sive. BT: What are you do­ing with all that space?

Jack­son: We have the whole up­per deck ded­i­cated to busi­ness class – 94 seats that are in a 2-2-2 con­fig­u­ra­tion. At the front of the cabin we’ve got a self-ser­vice bar, and at the rear of the cabin we’ve got a full-ser­vice bar. Then we’ve got 12 first class on the bot­tom – also with its own pri­vate self-ser­vice bar – and then we’ve got 301 econ­omy class seats that have a pitch of 34 inches. And in the back of the plane we’ve got the world’s only on-board duty free show­case.

BT: In ad­di­tion to North Amer­ica, you’ve re­cently added Myan­mar, Cambodia, Colombo and Malé. What other new ser­vices do you have com­ing online?

Jack­son: One thing that we’ve been say­ing a lot about is the con­nec­tions that we’ve got to Sin­ga­pore. Our gate­ways in Dal­las, Chicago, At­lanta, Wash­ing­ton, NewYork and Toronto have great con­nec­tions in both di­rec­tions to and from Sin­ga­pore. A lot of the new routes that we’ve been adding have been in­tra-Asia, re­gional routes. We are go­ing to be adding a cou­ple of new des­ti­na­tions in Viet­nam. And then prob­a­bly in the next few months you’ll be hear­ing more about some fu­ture plans in the Amer­i­cas as well.

BT: As Korean Air’s net­work ex­pands, In­cheon In­ter­na­tional Air­port is still your pri­mary hub. What do you think makes this such a good con­nect­ing point?

Jack­son: If you’re look­ing at travel from North Amer­ica to any­where in Asia, if there’s not a non-stop flight, the best place to con­nect is In­cheon. We’re talk­ing about 45-minute in­ter­na­tional-in­ter­na­tional con­nec­tions, which peo­ple have a hard time be­liev­ing, but it works very well. It’s re­ally made for con­nec­tions.

BT: With so many long-haul ar­rivals, what spe­cial ser­vices are you putting in place for con­nect­ing pas­sen­gers?

Jack­son: We’ve de­vel­oped a shower and re­fresh­ing ser­vice. We own the In­cheon Hy­att which is right across from the ter­mi­nal and we al­low first and busi­ness class pas­sen­gers ac­cess to the spa there. It’s a 5 minute ride to and from, so it’s re­ally con­ve­nient. BT: You’re up­dat­ing your fleet. Be­sides the A380, are Dream­lin­ers part of the plan?

Jack­son: Yes, we had changed our or­der from the Dash-8 to the Dash-9, and we’ll be get­ting that in 2016 or so. And we’re still adding Triple-Sevens as well.

BT: As th­ese new air­craft come online, what can you tell us about the fu­ture vi­sion for Korean Air­lines?

Jack­son: Stay tuned. We’re go­ing to be do­ing some ex­cit­ing things in 2014.

John Jack­son

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.