Korean Air has taken delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX jet. The jet arrived in Seoul, South Korea, on February 13. The airline has confirmed that it will begin operations with its newest addition to the fleet sometime in March.
Korean Air’s first 737 MAX 8 jet is by now 2.8 years old. Delivery was delayed as South Korea only recertified the MAX in November last year following the type’s extensive grounding, according to Simpleflying.
Korean Air has an order for a total of 30 of the 737 MAX 8, placed in November 2015. The aircraft are scheduled to be delivered between now and the end of 2028. Along with the MAXs, the airline also ordered an additional 777-300ERs, putting the total value at $4 billion at list price.
The airline intends to have six of the aircraft in service before the end of the year. It will then add the other 24 over the course of the next five years, adding to a potentially combined Korean super-carrier fleet if the merger with debt-ladened Asiana goes through.
The jet, registered as HL8348, began its journey from Boeing’s facilities in Seattle on Friday. It then traveled via Anchorage and Tokyo Narita, landing at Seoul Gimpo at 17:07 local time on Sunday.
During the suspension of the 737 MAX, Boeing has worked to improve the functioning of the aggressive MCAS responsible for two fatal crashes, along with improved pilot training and other enhanced safety features.
The Korean flag carrier says it has added its own precautions to bring the plane safely into service. The airline told the Korea Herald that it has dispatched a veteran crew of engineers to perform routine checks on the aircraft.
Furthermore, it has allocated the operation of the plane to pilots who have over 7,000 flight hours. South Korea’s Transportation Ministry has also stated it intends to monitor the MAX closely and join airlines’ flight simulations and tests for review. A spokesperson for Korean Air said,