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Asiana is one of a number of airlines that haven’t enjoyed the best of health in recent years and it has been taking various measures to improve its financial performance. In 2019 we saw the airline scale back its First Class offering by rebranding its most premium cabin as “Business Suites” and removing true First Class dining and services and we saw it axing a number of its less profitable routes as well.
Now it looks as if Asiana is scaling back its premium cabin offering between Seoul and New York City.
Asiana offers a twice-daily non-stop service between Seoul and New York JFK and, up until now, the airline has been scheduled to operate one flight with an Airbus A350 and the other with a considerably larger Airbus A380 for the summer season. This has now changed.
In a recent schedule update (HT: Routes Online) Asiana has replaced the A380 that was supposed to serve JFK this summer with a second A350 so, from 29 March 2020, this is what the schedule now looks like:
OZ222 ICN 10:20 – 11:35 JFK (Daily A350 service)
OZ224 ICN 20:20 – 21:35 JFK (Daily A350 service)
OZ223 JFK 00:35 – 04:20+1 day ICN (Daily A350 service)
OZ221 JFK 13:55 – 17:20+1 day ICN (Daily A350 service)
At the time of writing there is nothing in the schedules to indicate that the A380 will be returning.
Here’s how the seat numbers compare across the two aircraft types:
As you can see, the removal of the A380 from the Seoul – JFK route will not only see the removal of the ‘Business Suites’ option for travelers but it will also see a significant decrease in premium cabin seats – from 106 per day to just 56 – and a significant decrease in overall capacity.
A small consolation may be the fact that the Asiana A350 (a newer aircraft than the A380) offers the airline’s ‘Economy Smartium’ seating where passengers ger up to 36″ of seat pitch compared to the 33″ in regular Economy Class…but this is partially offset by the fact that the regular Economy Class seats in the outgoing A380 offer almost 19″ of seat width (an incredibly generous amount of room in a modern-day Economy Class cabin) while the A350 offers seats that are an inch narrower.
With considerably fewer Business Class seats on this route we can expect premium cabin award availability to decrease noticeably and we may even see Business Class cash fares increase.
The small positive of the Economy Smartium seats in the A350 is mostly offset by narrower regular Economy Class seating and, with almost 170 fewer Economy Class seats on offer in each direction per day, there’s every possibility that we will see Economy Class cash fares creeping higher on this route.
However you look at it, the axing of planned Asiana A380 service between Seoul and New York JFK is almost certainly going to be bad news for most travelers.