A Korean Air Airbus A380 has been spotted on a test flight from and to Seoul, South Korea. Following more than two years of storage, the test flight could be an indication that the aircraft could fly commercially sooner rather than later.
The double-decker, registered as HL7622, has been in storage since March 8, 2020, according to planespotters.net data. But the jumbo was spotted flying from Seoul’s Incheon International Airport (ICN) on November 9, 2022, with the aircraft taking off and landing at the airport following more than an hour’s flight in the country’s air space, data from flightradar24.com indicates.
The flight tracking website’s schedule data also showed that the same aircraft is scheduled to fly to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Thailand on November 10, 2022.
“Korean Air has reactivated one of our A380s, and it will be serviced on the Incheon-Bangkok route from today [November 10, 2022 – ed. note],” the airline said in a statement to AeroTime.
Meanwhile, out of the 10 Airbus A380 aircraft the airline currently owns, only four have been actively flying commercial passengers out of ICN. While one of the planes was returned to active service in September 2020, the remaining three took off to the skies between June and September 2022. As of its latest quarterly financial report, the carrier gave no indication of any plans to reduce its A380 fleet.
Korean Air did suggest that it has been seeing strong demand for long-haul flights, especially from the Americas, Europe, South East Asia, and Japan. A weakening South Korean won, strong transit demand to/from SEA to the Americas, as well as recovering leisure demand have allowed the airline to grow its Q3 2022 revenues by 65% compared to the same quarter a year prior.
“The fourth quarter passenger business outlook is bullish on strong passenger demand, and the airline will continue to operate flexibly through charter and extra flights,” the company noted in its Q3 2022 financial results release.
UPDATE November 10, 2022, 08:55 AM (UTC +3): The article was updated with a statement from the airline regarding its plans for the reactivated Airbus A380 aircraft.