Korean Air to Open Largest Engine Maintenance Facility in Asia in 2027

  • 28 Mar 2024

Aerial view of Korean Air’s future engine maintenance cluster in Unbuk, Yeongjong Island near Incheon International Airport, South Korea. Photo: Korean Air

Korean Air has started construction of an aircraft engine maintenance cluster in Unbuk, near Incheon International Airport, scheduled for completion in 2027. According to Korean Air, this upcoming engine maintenance facility will be the biggest in Asia, enhancing the airline’s aircraft engine maintenance capacity and strengthening its aviation MRO operations.

The new engine maintenance plant, covering more than 140,000 square meters across seven levels, will be built by Kolon Global at a 578 billion won. It is also strategically constructed adjacent to the existing Engine Test Cell (ETC) that is operated by the airline since 2016.

Previously, Korean Air managed its engine maintenance at its Bucheon facility, and conducted final performance testing at the ETC in Unbuk. With the new engine maintenance cluster, it will be able to consolidate all phases to a single, centralised site, streamlining the process and enhancing operational efficiency.

Korean Air plans to expand its aircraft engine maintenance capability from 100 to 360 engines annually, to service a wider range of engine types. Currently, the airline conducts overhauls on six engine models, including Pratt & Whitney’s PW4000 and GTF; CFM International’s CFM56; and General Electric’s GE90-115B. Three additional engine models, including GE’s GEnx and CFMI’s LEAP-1B, will be added. Moreover, Korean Air is also considering servicing engines for Asiana Airlines, such as the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB used in the Airbus A350.

The upcoming maintenance cluster is anticipated to generate more than 1,000 new jobs, to enhance competitiveness of the domestic aviation MRO industry and decreasing reliance on international maintenance services.

On 14 March 2024, Korean Air held a groundbreaking ceremony, attendees of the ceremony included Walter Cho, Chairman and CEO of Korean Air; Sung-kyu Maeng, Committee Member of the National Assembly’s Committee on Land, Infrastructure and Transport; June-young Bae, Congressman of Jung-gu District, Incheon; Jeong-bok Yoo, Mayor of Incheon Metropolitan City; Won-sok Yun, Commissioner of the Incheon Free Economic Zone; and Jong-il Kim, CEO of Kolon Global Corporation.

“The engine is like the heart of the airplane,” said Walter Cho at the groundbreaking ceremony. “Korean Air pledges to uphold the highest standards of safety, and is committed to elevating Korea’s competitive edge in a highly specialized sector of aviation.”

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