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Korean Air Welcomes New AWS Data Infrastructure

Korean Air is resuming services to Tianjin, China. It is one of multiple Korean carriers slowly resuming flights to China. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Earlier this week, Korean Air finished the complete shift for integrating Amazon Web Services (AWS)  – a subsidiary of Amazon that focuses on cloud computing, data storage, IT infrastructure and digital networking. In response to the evolving COVID-19 ordeal,  the Seoul-based carrier plans to use its migration towards cloud technology to adjust the airline’s operations and potentially improve customer service through the receipt of digital insights, data modeling and machine learning.  

“We are acquiring digital capabilities to lift our customer satisfaction levels to new heights, bringing us one step closer to becoming the world’s most-loved airline. We’ve completed the largest IT modernization project in the airline’s 52-year history within a short period and are shifting our focus from solving problems to creating innovation faster with AWS cloud capabilities, which is especially important as travel starts to resume,” Kenneth Chang, Executive Vice President, Korean Air, said.

In November 2018, the notable SkyTeam member initially announced its proposal to completely shift towards AWS for technological support in the airline’s website, frequent flyer program and route network. During the three-year migration period, the airline subsequently shut down its data centers, in favor of focusing heavily on integrating database management, artificial intelligence and data analytics into its daily operations and management such as the passengers and fleet. 

A team of 500 airline employees, who have basic knowledge of cloud computing and technological skills, is expected to be the airline’s chief group for supporting customer data platforms and the potential evolution for modern innovation.

Korean Air’s National Partnership For Sustainability

Prior to the flag carrier of South Korea completing its migration towards cloud computing and data collection with AWS’ Korea region, Korean Air also partnered with SK Energy – a prominent South Korean petroleum and oil refinery – to jump-start its movement towards carbon-neutral jet fuel. In early September, the airline began the partnership and purchased a month’s supply of eco-friendly, non-traditional fuel to operate a number of domestic flights.

As part of the airline’s initiative for sustainable and efficient operations, Korean Air added the Airbus A220-300 series aircraft to its current fleet of mainly widebody aircraft, except for the airline’s Boeing 737s which operate the carrier’s shorter routes. Meanwhile, Hyundai Oil Bank developed a foundation with the carrier and will formulate a proposal for biofuel manufacturing, which the carrier will eventually explore its usages.

Korean Air’s continuation to develop its initiatives for sustainability and efficiency can play a crucial role in the airline’s ability to reduce carbon emissions. The country’s largest carrier can inaugurate newer routes and expand its network, using more efficient aircraft.

It is clear that Korean Air’s response to the detrimental effects of COVID-19 on passenger travel demand and customer behavior involves technological solutions. The carrier will use this time period to maintain its capabilities to contribute to the fight against climate change.

It is essential for the airline to continue being aware of how its passengers will react to the new, comprehensive changes while also keeping an eye on how innovation involving the new AWS computing system will impact the airline’s staff and fleet. Korean Air can also be aware of data security and protection with the new infrastructure within the airline industry.

Benjamin Pham


  • Benjamin Pham

    Benjamin has had a love for aviation since a young age, growing up in Tampa with a strong interest in airplane models and playing with them. When he moved to the Washington, D.C. area, Benjamin took part in aviation photography for a couple of years at Gravelly Point and Dulles Airport, before dedicating planespotting to only when he traveled to the other airports. He is an avid, world traveler, having been able to reach 32 countries, yearning to explore and understand more cultures soon. Currently, Benjamin is an Air Transporation Management student at Arizona State University. He hopes to enter the airline industry to improve the passenger experience and loyalty programs while keeping up to how technology is being integrated into airports.

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