Air Transport World

Asiana's magic.(COVER FEATURE)(Korean Air Lines Company Ltd.)

THERE IS MAGIC IN THE AIR AT SOUTH KOREA'S ASIANA Airlines. Whether it is flight attendants trained to entertain passengers with sleight-of-hand tricks or the industry-leading reliability of its aircraft and engines, the magic is working. But everything has not always worked like magic for Asiana, which turned 20 in February. While being given national carrier status, for many years it was well and truly the second banana as it battled the government and much larger Korean Air for access to international routes. And no sooner did it establish itself as a viable competitor to KE than the Asian currency crisis struck, followed by the avian flu and SARS, not to ignore the global effects of 9/11.

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Those setbacks have not shifted the airline's focus on operational excellence, however, and the numbers are indeed magic. Dispatch reliability and turnback rates are well ahead of the fleet average for all types it operates (see table, p. 31), while its inflight shutdown rate is zero for all engine types except the older CF6 but still better than the global average. These figures are attained with high daily utilization rates, such as 9.58 hr. with 5.43 landings for the A320 for 2007. Its 777s attained 14.17 hr. with 2.26 landings.

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Operational excellence is built upon a foundation of safety that has kept Asiana in good standing with the Korean government throughout its existence and contributed to its receiving a number of plum China routes earlier this decade. It has a Safety Management Team made up of safety managers of the six key divisions: Administration, Passenger, Cargo, Maintenance, Flight Operations and Service. The team reports weekly to the Safety Review Board consisting of the executive VPs of each division and chaired by Vice Chairman and CEO Chan Bup Park. When it comes to critical flight operations, it employs a host of tools and strategies to keep it at the leading edge of industry practice. It developed a Flight Operations Quality Assurance system and Asiana Airlines Safety Information System incorporating a Penalty Free Reporting System. It is also part of ICAO's Line Operations Safety Audit. …

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