MRO Management

Build begins on Korean Air’s new engine maintenance facility

Aerial view of Korean Air's new engine maintenance facility in Unbuk, Yeongjong Island near Incheon International Airport, South Korea.
photo_camera Aerial view of Korean Air's new engine maintenance facility in Unbuk, Yeongjong Island near Incheon International Airport, South Korea.

Korean Air has started the construction of its new aircraft engine maintenance facility in Unbuk, near Incheon International Airport, South Korea.

Slated to open in 2027, the new 140,000 sqm ₩578 billion facility will be the largest in Asia and will bolster the airline’s engine maintenance capabilities.

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

The seven-level facility will be constructed by Kolon Global and will be strategically located adjacent to the existing Engine Test Cell (ETC) that the airline has operated since 2016.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on March 14, attended by Korean Air’s Walter Cho; 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, chief executive of Kolon Global Corporation.

Korean Air has previously managed its engine maintenance at its Bucheon facility, complemented by final performance testing at the ETC in Unbuk.

The new facility will streamline this process with a strategic consolidation, enhancing operational efficiency by bringing all phases of engine maintenance to a single, centralised site.

Korean Air is also set to significantly enhance its capabilities from servicing 100 engines to 360 annually, across a broader spectrum 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.

The expansion includes adding three more engine models to its portfolio, including GE’s GEnx and CFMI’s LEAP-1B.

Korean Air is also exploring the possibility of servicing Asiana Airlines’ engines, including the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB used in the Airbus A350.

The new maintenance facility is expected to generate over 1,000 new jobs to bolster the domestic aviation MRO industry’s competitiveness and reduce dependence on international maintenance services.

Korean Air is the sole operator of specialised facilities for civilian aircraft engine overhauls in Korea.

The airline began overhauling Boeing 707 aircraft engines in 1976 and has since rebuilt nearly 5,000 engines and supplied engines to other airlines, including its subsidiary Jin Air, as well as international carriers such as Delta Air Lines and China Southern Airlines.

READ MORE NEWS: Korean Air chooses Skywise digital solutions for its entire Airbus fleet


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