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Korean Air marks 45 years of flights to New York

April 1, 2024 - 14:30 By Kim Hae-yeon
The winner of the complimentary round-trip flight ticket to New York poses for a photo with Korean Air officials at the JFK Airport on Friday. (Korean Air)

Korean Air hosted a surprise event at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday, to celebrate the 45th anniversary of operating flights to the city, the nation’s largest air carrier said Monday.

At the event, a round-trip prestige ticket from Incheon to New York was awarded to the 45th passenger of Korean Air flight KE082 bound for Incheon. Korean Air also gave out welcome eco-bags to all passengers aboard KE082, which were crafted in collaboration with the Korean Association of New York Artists, a non-profit organization committed to promoting culture and arts in New York. The eco-bags were made to support young Korean artists based in New York and foster cultural exchanges between New York and Korea.

Korean Air inaugurated its first regular Seoul-New York flight on March 29, 1979.

The inaugural flight, KE008 to New York, took off from Gimpo Airport and made a stopover in Anchorage, Alaska. It reached the JFK Airport in 15 hours and 10 minutes.

Initially, Korean Air's New York route operated three times a week but was expanded to 10 times a week in 1986, and currently operates 14 times a week.

Last year, the total number of passengers reached 417,920, making it the second busiest US-based flight for the airline after Los Angeles. The New York route is serviced by large aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747-8i.

"During the time when international exchanges were scarce, the New York route served as a vital link for Koreans living in the US," a Korean Air official said. The official added that the importance of Korean Air's flights to New York lies in enabling same-day trade between Korea and the eastern US, thereby bolstering domestic industry development.

A commemorative ceremony attended by Lee Jin-ho, senior vice president and head of Americas Regional Headquarters, alongside relevant officials, will take place in Manhattan on Thursday.