South Korea’s new presidential jet, known in the country as Code One, carried out its first mission on January 15, 2021.
The Boeing 747-8i, leased from Korean Air, replaces a Boeing 747-400, which began operating as the official transport of the country’s leader in 2010. It will be the second aircraft to be entirely dedicated to presidential transportation, as South Korea previously relied on private chartering for this role.
The airline was awarded a five-year wet-lease contract valued at $120 million in May 2020 that also included the provision of an identical backup plane. The jumbo jet can accommodate 213 people. Like the aerial transport of many other world leaders, it received upgrades, including improved communication systems and anti-missile countermeasures.
On January 15, 2021, two days after it was officially inducted, the new Code One took off for the Middle East, marking the beginning of a week-long trip for President Moon Jae-in and his entourage during which the president will visit the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. On January 18, 2021, the aircraft flew from Dubai, the UAE to the Saudi capital of Riyadh.