South Korea’s Asiana Airlines has placed a firm order for six A380 superjumbos, signaling its intention to mount a serious challenge to fellow A380 customer Korean Air. Airbus said it expects to begin deliveries to Asiana in 2014. The airline plans to operate the double-decker airliners on “key” routes to Europe and the U.S. and decide on an engine selection in the “near future.” Korean Air expects to receive the first five of an order for 10 A380s this year.
The total order book for the A380 now holds firm contracts from 18 customers for 240 aircraft. Last November, Japanese discount carrier Skymark signed a memorandum of understanding covering delivery of four of the jets. It expects to sign a firm order early this year.