On 19 August last week, Korean Air celebrated the 50th anniversary of its US operations with a recognition from the city of Los Angeles for its economic contributions.
In 1972, the airline started by serving only Honolulu and Los Angeles. It now flies out of 13 gateways across North America with its headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
From the 43,800 passengers transported between the US and Seoul in 1972, the airline recorded over 3 million passengers in 2019 (pre-COVID). The flying time has also been reduced to 11 hours from 17 hours on its nonstop flight.
Korean Air said that that inaugural passenger flight from Seoul to Los Angeles marked the beginning of the central role the airline would play in fostering economic and cultural relations between Korea and the US.
Dedicated cargo terminals in Los Angeles and at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport serves as Korean Air’s hubs for the eastern and western seaboard.
Throughout the pandemic, the airline delivered thousands of tonnes of cargo, including e-commerce products, semiconductor parts, medical supplies and COVID test kits, fruits and vegetables, and K-pop-related items.
Korean Air also launched two new gateways in the US – Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio and Chicago Rockford International Airport – that have strengthened the airline’s cargo transpacific network and helped alleviate some of the US supply chain issues.