Airbus Recognizes Korean Air As The Best A220 Operator

Airbus has recognized Korean Air as the best operator of the A220 family of aircraft. Airbus issues its ‘Best Operational Excellence’ awards once every two years to the best operators of its different products. This year was the first time that Airbus has issued the award for the A220 family of aircraft.

Korean Air has been recognized as the ‘best’ A220 operator. Photo: Airbus

The Airbus A220 is slowly expanding its reach in terms of operators. Just last week, the French flag carrier welcomed the aircraft to its fleet. As more and more airlines start flying the jet, the pool of potential winners of Airbus’s best operator award also grows.

What has Korean Air won exactly?

At this year’s IATA Summit in Boston, Airbus awarded its biannual best operational excellence awards. The European plane manufacturer awarded its A220 award to Korean Airlines, making the airline the first winner of this specific award. Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury presented the award to Walter Cho, the chairman of Korean Air.

The award was presented at this year’s IATA summit. Photo: Korean Air

But what exactly is an Airbus best operational excellence award? Using its data, Airbus looks at a range of factors from flight duration to the number of flights operated and how punctual they are.

In this instance, Airbus was looking at airlines from August 2020 to July 2021. During this period, Korean Air’s A220 fleet clocked an on-time performance of 99.63%. This is a measure of how many flights departed within 15 minutes of their scheduled time, which means that for every 1,000 flights, only 3.7 were delayed.

According to aviation data experts Cirium, Korean Air had 16,520 flights scheduled for the period observed by Airbus. This means that roughly 61 flights were delayed by 15 minutes or more over the entire year. The airline used the fleet on a reasonably small network spanning just six destinations. The majority ran between Seoul-Gimpo, Jeju, and Busan.

Korean Air’s A220 network. Photo: Cirium

Korean Air’s Airbus A220 fleet

174 Airbus A220 aircraft are now operational across the globe, with 11 airlines operating them according to Korean Air. Just ten of these are operated by the Korean flag carrier, all from the larger -300 series of aircraft. As a whole, the fleet is still reasonably young. The oldest aircraft is 4.7 years old, while the youngest is just 2.71 years. The average age of the jets is 3.48 years.

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HL8091 is the youngest aircraft according to It first flew on January 21st, 2019, and was delivered on March 1st that same year. Since then, the airplane has clocked 2,782 flight hours across 3,599 flights up until the end of June. This means that the average flight length was 46 minutes. It is also fairly interesting as it shows that the plane has been used for just three hours and seven minutes on an average day.

Korean Air has ten Airbus A220-300s. Photo: Bombardier

The most used A220 in the Korean fleet is HL8093. This is a 3.92-year-old aircraft delivered on December 30th, 2017. Up to the end of June, it had flown for 5,369 hours across 6,965 flights. This means that, on average, Korean Air used the plane for four hours and two minutes each day. Again, the average flight length was 46 minutes.

What do you make of Korean Air’s accolade? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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