Korean Air (KE, Seoul Incheon) will sign a contract with Airbus to acquire thirty-three A350 aircraft, including twenty-seven A350-1000s and six A350-900s, introducing the widebody family to its fleet.

The order, which sources told news outlets about a few days ago, aims to bolster “its competitiveness on medium-to-long haul routes by replacing ageing aircraft and introducing next-generation mid-to-large passenger aircraft in accordance with our long-term aircraft plan,” the flag carrier said.

The deal is an investment that will be made gradually between March 2024 to December 2031. The airline is reportedly interested in streamlining its fleet ahead of its long-planned merger with Asiana Airlines (OZ, Seoul Incheon), which already operates the A350 family.

Korean Air also plans to introduce fifty A321-200neo, ten B787-9s, twenty B787-10s, and thirty B787-8s, as part of its fleet modernisation strategy, it said in a separate statement.

The ch-aviation fleets module shows that Korean Air operates 162 aircraft, including ten A220-300s, nine A321-200NX, five A330-200s, twenty-one A330-300s, ten A380-800s, one B737-700(BBJ), five B737-8s, two B737-800s, ten B737-900s, six B737-900ERs, four B747-400ERFs, nine B747-8s, seven B747-8Fs, eight B777-200ERs, twelve B777-200Fs, four B777-300s, twenty-five B777-300ERs, one B787-8(BBJ), and thirteen B787-9s.

Meanwhile, Asiana Airlines' fleet comprises one A320-200, thirteen A321-200s, nine A321-200NX, fifteen A330-300s, fifteen A350-900s, six A380-800s, one B747-400, six B747-400(BDSF)s, four B747-400FSCDs, one B767-300, one B767-300F, and nine B777-200ERs.

Approved by most competition authorities, the merger between both carriers still awaits US consent.