Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Korean Air wins maintenance contract from United States Air Force

The nation’s leading passenger airline, Korean Air, won a $31 million (35 billion won) maintenance contract Wednesday from the United States Air Force (USAF), for work on F-16 fighter jets over the next five and a half years.

The work will involve maintenance and inspections of wing parts, landing gear and lower bulkheads as well as spraying the jets with special radar-deflecting paint that can improve chances of non-detection from enemy surveillance systems by 70 to 80 percent.

The firm will also be a support partner of the U.S. Air Force throughout the Asia Pacific region by dispatching a special team to oversee emergency repairs within operational units.

The U.S. Air Force invited bids for the contract in April and several domestic and foreign airline companies put forward offers, including Korean Air.

“The U.S. Air Force has selected our company after a thorough inspection of our facilities and capability. They have recognized our unrivaled production and repairing technologies as well as our stable business and operational skills,” said a Korean Air manager.

“We expect this project will lead to a prolonged project to elongate the lifespan of aircraft,” he added.

The company plans to utilize the same repair technology it will use on the U.S. fighters on maintenance of Korean jets.

Korean Air has repaired 630 U.S. F-16 planes since 1983 and repaired and enhanced the functions of 2,600 additional aircraft such as F-15s, A-10s, C-130s, KA-130Js, CH-47s, CH-53s, and UH-60s since 1978.

The company has a technology center located in Busan where it produces parts and repairs aircraft. All of Korean Air’s airplanes are inspected and repaired at this center and some foreign airlines also have planes repaired there. They also conduct repairs to foreign fighter jets upon request.

The nation’s largest airline company started assembling fighter jets and other aircraft in 1976 and has assembled 500 F-5 planes, and MD and UH-60 helicopters. This was expanded to civilian aircraft in 1986.

The company supplies wing components to Airbus and Embraer as well as participates in co-production of airplanes with Boeing.

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