Seoul-based Asiana Airlines has announced the return of its sole passenger Boeing 747-400 to active service, as the airline plans to upgrade capacity for its Seoul to Changchun, northeast China. The Korean carrier will also increase capacity in the other areas of its China network.

Throughout its nearly 34 years of service, Asiana Airlines have had 18 Boeing 747s in its fleet, seven of which have since been retired. Of the remaining 11, six were converted to becoming BEDEK Special Freighters, another four became freighters, and only one remained as a passenger aircraft.

A rare sight within the Asia-Pacific

At 24 years of age, the returning Boeing 747-400 is registered HL 7428 and took its first flight in May 1998 before being delivered to Asiana Airlines in June 1999, on lease from GECAS before the airline bought it in 2005.

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Asiana Airlines Boeing 747-400

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The aircraft had an initial configuration of 10 seats in First Class, 45 seats in Business Class, and 304 seats in Economy Class. In April 2017, a slight reconfiguration occurred with subtle changes in its Business Class and Economy Class, with 24 and 364 seats in each cabin, respectively.

During the pandemic, Asiana Airlines parked HL 7428 in Seoul. Still, they quickly returned it to service within the second half of 2020, contrary to how most of the Boeing 747s within the Asia-Pacific region were being retired or stored during this time. Eventually, the Star Alliance member airline became the only carrier within the region still operating the aircraft.

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Asiana Airlines Airbus A330-300

The Queen flies to China

Unfortunately, HL 7428 was not utilized and was parked again in May this year before being returned to active service in July. Upon its return from storage, the iconic aircraft was still barely operating any flights. Still, the aircraft has accumulated more than 95,820 flight hours through more than 17,490 flight cycles as of July and is about to gather even more.

Beginning on October 27th, HL 7428 will be used to operate Asiana Airlines flight OZ 303 from Seoul’s Incheon International Airport to Changchun’s Longjia International Airport. The aircraft will be an upgrade from the Airbus A330-300 previously used on the original service. Furthermore, Asiana Airlines will also be adding another weekly flight service operated by the Airbus A330, beginning on October 27th.

It is currently unclear if the Korean carrier has other plans installed for HL 7428 to operate in other sectors within China, though the possibility is relatively 50-50. The Star Alliance member airline will also restart direct flights from Seoul to Hangzhou and Shenzhen. The flight services will be resumed on November 2nd and November 9th, respectively, with each city being served once a week, albeit the aircraft types remain uncertain.

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Bottom line

It is certainly a welcome sight to see HL 7428 being more heavily utilized as the occurrence of a passenger Boeing 747-400 flying through the skies becomes increasingly rare. There are currently less than 20 passenger Boeing 747-400s still in active service, with German flag carrier Lufthansa operating the highest number of eight aircraft. Besides the two Star Alliance member airlines, other airlines having the aircraft type in service include Mahan Air and Max Air.

Source: Airways Mag

What do you think of the more active return of Asiana Airlines’ lone Boeing 747-400? Have you ever flown on with HL 7428? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Asiana A350

    Asiana Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Incheon International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Star Alliance

    Han Chang-soo

    South Korea

  • 787-8 Dreamliner


    Stock Code:

    Date Founded:

    Dave Calhoun

    Headquarters Location:
    Chicago, USA

    Key Product Lines:
    Boeing 737, Boeing 747, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, Boeing 777, Boeing 787

    Business Type:

  • Korean Air, Eastar Jet, Jin Air

    Incheon International Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    South Korea

    Kim Kyung-wook

    Passenger Count :
    71,169,516 (2019)

    Runways :
    15R/33L – 3,750m (12,303ft) |15L/33R – 3,750m (12,303ft) |16L/34R – 4,000m (13,123ft) |16R/34L – 3,750m (12,303ft)

    Terminal 1 |Terminal 2


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