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Strona głównaAerospaceKorean Air Sells 5 Boeing 747s to US to Convert Them as...

Korean Air Sells 5 Boeing 747s to US to Convert Them as New Nuclear Plane

SEOUL- Korean Air (KE) announced in an exchange filing on Wednesday that it will sell five Boeing 747 aircraft to the US-based aerospace firm Sierra Nevada.

Sierra Nevada Corporation recently secured a $13 billion contract from the U.S. Air Force to develop a successor to the E-4B Nightwatch, commonly called the Doomsday Plane. This aircraft is renowned for its capability to endure nuclear warfare and serve as a command and control center during emergency situations.

Photo: By tjdarmstadt – IMG_8483.jpg, CC BY 2.0,

Korean Air Sells 747s

According to a Reuters source knowledgeable about the situation, the planes being sold by Korean Air are four-engine Boeing 747-8s.

The current E-4 planes, in service since the 1970s, are modified Boeing 747-200s.

Korean Air’s filing stated that the sale, valued at 918 billion Korean won ($674 million), aligns with the airline’s medium to long-term strategy of phasing out older aircraft and acquiring newer generation ones.

As per the filing, Korean Air plans to complete the sale of the planes in September 2025.

Photo: By tjdarmstadt – IMG_6410.jpg, CC BY 2.0,

One of Only three 747-8 Operator

Korean Air is one of only three airlines globally operating the Boeing 747-8 passenger version. Lufthansa (LH) leads with the largest fleet of 19 of these aircraft, followed by Air China (CA) with seven.

In 2021, Korean Air’s CEO outlined plans for the retirement of the A380 within five years (by 2026) and the Boeing 747-8 within 10 years (by 2031). However, such plans are subject to change, leaving room for speculation.

Suppose Korean Air proceeds to sell over half of its 747-8 fleet. In that case, it raises questions about the potential extension of the A380’s service life, particularly considering delays in the delivery of other aircraft. Only time will reveal the outcome.

Given the limited demand for secondhand four-engine aircraft, they are often scrapped or used for spare parts. So, what’s in store for the five Boeing 747-8s sold by Korean Air? Ask OMAAT. These planes are destined for the US aerospace firm Sierra Nevada Corporation.

The current E-4Bs, operational since the 1970s, are modified variants of the Boeing 747-200.

The US Air Force’s decision to opt for converted Boeing 747-8s suggests a necessity for an upgrade, signaling a shift toward modernization.

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