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Korean Air will dedicate the entire upper deck of its new Airbus A380s to business class, beating a refit by Singapore Airlines to become the first A380 with a single deck for premium passengers.The upper level will be set aside for 94 of Korean Air’s lie-flat Prestige Class business seating with 74 inch spacing (although that’s well under the 80 inches on a Qantas A380). The cabin will also feature “extra large seat partitions”, according to the airline, to deliver what Korean Air senior vice president Walter Cho describes as “the comfort and privacy reserved for First Class passengers on other airlines. (Passengers will) feel exclusivity like they’re travelling in their own private jet.”Downstairs on the Korean Air A380 adopts a more familiar layout with 12 first class suites at the pointy end and 301 economy seats (with 34 inch spacing, or three inches more than cattle class on a Qantas A380).
That brings the total capacity to just 407 seats, the least of any A380 to date: by comparison, Qantas has 450 seats, Singapore Airlines 471 and Emirates 489, with capacity maxing out at a packed 538 on board an Air France A380.
The Korean flag carrier’s first superjumbo will take to the skies in May 2011, with another four to follow throughout the year and five more slated by the end of 2014.
The A380s will initially ply short-haul but high density routes from Seoul to Japan and East Asia, before expanding to US and European routes in August.
Meanwhile, from Korean Air's spacious 407 seats configuration to a possible 1,000 seat capacity, airlines continue to tailor and tweak the Airbus A380 to suit their needs and that of the changing travel market.