Korean Airlines A380 strikes light poles at LAX, causing minor damage

A Korean Airlines A380 hit a lightpole on Wednesday night. How does this happen? Photo: Your blogger.

A Korean Airlines A380 hit a lightpole on Wednesday night. How does this happen? Photo: Your blogger.

A taxiing Korean Airlines A380 struck some light poles Wednesday afternoon at Los Angeles International Airport, causing slight damage to one of its wings, authorities said Thursday.

While KE012 was taxing to the gate under the guidance of a ramp vehicle, the vehicle misguided the taxiway,” Korean Airlines said in a statement. “As a result, the light cover at the end of the wing touched the ground lighting facility.”

The incident happened at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, airport officials said. Later, the plane was bound for Seoul and was scheduled to depart at 11:30 p.m. It did not, however, leave as scheduled.

“During the ground checking, a scratch was found at the end of the wing,” the Korean statement said. “An alternative aircraft was deployed. KE012 is expected to arrive at Incheon International Airport with 10 hours and 40 minutes of delay.”

Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the FAA, said federal controllers were not part of the incident.

“FAA air traffic controllers were not directing the aircraft when the incident occurred,” he said.

An LAX spokeswoman gave this statement. “The approximately 30-foot-tall light poles were bent (not broken) and are located near the west remote gates.  Airport maintenance and electrical crews are expected to repair the light poles.”

There were 23 crew and 361 passengers on board, Korean said.


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Emirates brings its A380 to Los Angeles, North America’s super jumbo jet hub

Emirates (800x505)

Emirates is now flying its A380 to Los Angeles, giving LAX its ninth daily flight on the massive double-decker jet. The first Emirates A380 was to arrive in Los Angeles today.

LAX has by far the most daily A380 flights in the United States, a point of pride for airport officials, who have spent most of the past decade improving the airport so it can accept the super large jets. And while the A380 is not selling particularly well, a bunch of aviation experts told me last month that LAX probably will remain a A380 hub for the foreseeable future. The city’s population is big enough to handle very large aircraft, they say.

The Emirates flight to Dubai is among the longest in the world. The flight from LAX is blocked at 15 hours and 50 points. From Dubai to Los Angeles, the flight is blocked at 16 hours 30 minutes.

Here are the current A380 flights from LAX:

  • Qantas (2) – Sydney, Melbourne
  • Air France (1) – Paris
  • Singapore (1) – Tokyo
  • Korean (2) – Seoul
  • China Southern (1) - Guangzhou
  • British Airways (1) – London
  • Emirates (1) – Dubai
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British Airways, which will bring A380 to Los Angeles, believes there’s plenty of demand for First Class

British Airways is bullish on first class demand between Los Angeles and London. Cabin photograph courtesy of airline.

British Airways is bullish on first class demand between Los Angeles and London. Cabin photograph courtesy of airline.

When British Airways brings its Airbus A380 to Los Angeles International Airport for the first time on Tuesday, it will have something slightly unusual for a new airplane: 14 first class seats. (To compare, Korean Airlines has 12 first class seats on its A380, while Lufthansa has only eight.)

The 14 first class seats are in addition to 97 seats in the airline’s Club World — or business class — cabin. In Club World, every seat converts to a fully flat and private bed.

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British Airways to add second Airbus A380 flight at LAX

By Spring 2014, British Airways should have two daily A380 flights to Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of British Airways.

By Spring 2014, British Airways should have two daily A380 flights to Los Angeles.   Photo courtesy of British Airways.

By next spring, British Airways should have two Airbus A380 flights between Los Angeles and London. Though it will usually have just one A380 flight, the airline is planning to add a second during the busy tourist season.

The change was first reported by airlineroute.net. It goes into effect April 10. That’s a long way away, so of course it can change between now and then.

British Airways, a new operator of the jet, starts its first A380 flight between Los Angeles and London in September. Los Angeles is supposed to be the first scheduled A380 service for the airline.

LAX sees more A380s than just about any other city in the world. Can you name all the airlines that fly the plane to LAX?

 

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Go inside the A380: How Korean Airlines (quickly) turns planes at LAX

Almost every day at Los Angeles International Airport, Korean Airlines turns around the world’s largest passenger jet – the Airbus A380 – in precisely two hours.

In that time, Korean must clear 407 passengers, work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, clean the aircraft, provision it with everything it needs for its return flight to Seoul and board another 407 travelers. The airline, of course, could take longer – China Southern’s A380 from Guangzhou sits at LAX for four hours – but planes can only make money when they’re airborne.

During this frenzied period, I recently toured Korean’s A380 at LAX. Airline officials didn’t want to go into detail about how they move so quickly – they call that proprietary information – but they allowed me to observe the process. Here’s what I saw:

Korean 13 (800x600)

Korean Air flight attendants arrive at LAX 90 minutes before each flight. Above, flight attendants wearing gloves make sure first class seats are ready. Before passengers board, a flight attendant tests every seat in first and business class – there are 12 in first class and 94 in business – to ensure they work properly. During the checks, they put every seat into bed mode, and then back into seat mode. Airline executives know there is nothing passengers hate more than a broken seat.

Korean 6 (800x600)

Flight attendants work hard before passengers board, but it’s the professional LAX-based aircraft cleaners that do the heavy scrubbing. Korean uses a staff of about 30 to clean the double-decker plane, or about twice as many as it employs on the smaller Boeing 777. The result, airline officials hope, is a coach cabin as tidy as the one above.

Korean 8 (800x600) (2)

Before passengers board, flight attendants work the galley to put everything in its proper place. Korean staffs its A380 with 24 flight attendants, meaning the attendant-to-passenger ratio (about 1 to 17) is far better than on most U.S. airlines. The FAA requires U.S. carriers to staff 1 flight attendant for every 50 passengers. Most domestic carriers exceed that minimum, but not by nearly as much as Korean Airlines.

Korean 10 (800x600)Above, flight attendants sort meals and prepare amenity kits for premium class passengers. The television is part of a special lounge for business class travelers.

Korean 11 (800x600)

Flight attendants also prepare newspapers (lower left) and the duty free cabinets. I was told actual merchandise cannot be displaced under the aircraft is airborne, but the space is readied before the flight. Duty free is a huge money maker for Korean, airline officials tell me.

Korean 5 (800x600)During flight, the crew takes rest breaks below the passenger cabin. Above is an escape hatch for that rest compartment. In the event of an emergency, flight attendants would come up through this nifty “door” in the coach class cabin.

Korean 4

As the cabin crew readies the A380, agents prepare passengers to board. Korean boards by groups, and passengers queue up behind airline employees holding large signs. An airline official told me Korean staffs each A380 gate with 12 employees. That’s a lot!

Korean 3An airline official told me Korean can board its A380 in a speedy 20 minutes. Above, a picture after the frenzied push to board. But the process may not have been finished. I’m told the airline often has to grab passengers from the shops in the Tom Bradley International Terminal and beg them to get on the plane. “Koreans love duty free,” one airline employee told me.

Korean 12 (800x594)

Above, a final shot of the A380 before its flight to Seoul. Gate 123 is equipped with three boarding bridges for efficient boarding.

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