Increasing commerce between the United States and China and other Asian countries has created a market niche for Korean Air, and the carrier hopes to seize the opportunity in style.
Private beds, caviar and champagne will be available on the lengthy flights from Los Angeles to Asia.
One of the goals of John Jackson III, head of sales and business development at the airline, is to raise Korean Air's profile, conceding that few American travelers are aware that it "flies from more cities in North America to more destinations in Asia than any other airline in the world."
The airline also is hoping to expand beyond its core of ethnic customers by expanding its services to China in an effort to attract more travelers who ordinarily wouldn't travel on Korean Air.
Korean Air is also trying to woo large corporate and business travelers in Los Angeles. Last year, Korean Air announced that it planned to invest $10 billion in new aircraft purchases, in-flight upgrades, information technology and other projects over the next 10 years.
"We're making sure we spend money in areas that passengers see," Jackson said.
The carrier hopes to take advantage of its hubs in Seoul and Tokyo, where passengers can take one- to two-hour flights to various cities in Japan and China, said Jackson, who is based at Korean Air's regional headquarters on the edge of L.A.'s Koreatown.
"China is a major part of our long-term strategy," said Jackson, ratting off the 17 cities in China to which Korean Air currently flies.
Earlier this year, Korean Air upgraded its flights from Los Angeles to Asia by adding flat sleeper seats, audio and video features and wireless Internet access for business customers. It also has strengthened its network in North America by adding three weekly flights from Las Vegas, mostly for convention business.
Korean Air is a member of Skyteam, a business alliance of airlines that includes Air France, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and China Southern Airlines, which joined in June.
The Skyteam network provides its members with access to hubs in major airports such as Air France's Charles de Gaulle, Korean Air's Incheon International Airport and Aeromexico's Mexico City base, the largest in Latin America. China Southern adds the strategically significant hub of Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport to the alliance's network.
In addition to the code-sharing agreements that Korean Air has with China Southern, Air China and Shanghai Airlines, the airline plans to add destinations, flights in existing markets and expand the number of cities in Korea from which it flies.
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