Korean Air Plans New Engine Maintenance Facility for 2027

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
Render of new Korean Air engine maintenance facility.
Image Credit: Korean Air

Korean Air has broken ground on a monumental project: a state-of-the-art aircraft engine maintenance cluster in Unbuk, neighboring Incheon International Airport.

Scheduled for completion in 2027, this facility will be the largest of its kind in Asia. It solidifies Korean Air’s position as a leader in engine maintenance and propelling the growth of the domestic MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) industry.

Ground Breaking Ceremony

The groundbreaking ceremony held on March 14th marked this significant milestone. In attendance were prominent figures like Walter Cho, Chairman and CEO Korean Air, Sung-kyu Maeng, National Assembly Committee Member.

Other notable attendees included June-young Bae, Congressman, Jeong-bok Yoo, Mayor of Incheon, Won-sok Yun, Commissioner, Incheon Free Economic Zone, and Jong-il Kim, CEO, Kolon Global Corporation.

“The engine is the airplane’s heart,” declared Walter Cho at the ceremony. “Korean Air is dedicated to upholding the highest safety standards and elevating Korea’s competitiveness in this highly specialized aviation sector.”

Spanning a massive 140,000 square meters across seven floors, the new engine maintenance plant represents a 578 billion won investment.

Construction will be undertaken by Kolon Global and strategically positioned adjacent to the existing Engine Test Cell (ETC) established by Korean Air in 2016.

Previously, Korean Air managed engine maintenance at their Bucheon facility with final testing conducted at the separate Unbuk ETC.

This new cluster streamlines the process by consolidating all stages of engine maintenance under one roof, significantly enhancing operational efficiency.

Render of new Korean Air engine maintenance facility.
Image Credit: Korean Air

Engine Maintenance Capabilities

This project also signifies a substantial increase in Korean Air’s engine maintenance capabilities. Their capacity will jump from servicing 100 engines annually to a remarkable 360, encompassing a wider range of engine types.

Currently, Korean Air overhauls six engine models, including Pratt & Whitney’s PW4000 and GTF, CFM International’s CFM56, and General Electric’s GE90-115B.

The expansion plans include adding GE’s GEnx and CFMI’s LEAP-1B to their portfolio. Additionally, Korean Air is exploring the possibility of servicing engines for Asiana Airlines. This will involved maintenance on the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB used in Airbus A350s.

The new engine maintenance cluster is expected to create over 1,000 new jobs, thus bolstering the domestic aviation MRO industry and reducing reliance on foreign maintenance services.

A Korean Air A330 climbs out of Brisbane Airport.
Robert Frola (GFDL or GFDL), via Wikimedia Commons

As the sole operator of specialized civilian aircraft engine overhaul facilities in Korea, Korean Air boasts a long and successful history.

Their journey began in 1976 with overhauling Boeing 707 engines. Since then, they have rebuilt nearly 5,000 engines. Korean Air supplies these engines to airlines like their subsidiary Jin Air, Delta Air Lines, and China Southern Airlines.

Korean Air currently holds airworthiness certifications from 13 domestic and international authorities.

These include the Korean Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).


Korean Air is now set to significantly enhance its aircraft engine maintenance capability, encompassing a broader range of engine types.

Notable, the expansion includes adding three more engine models to its portfolio, including GE’s GEnx and CFMI’s LEAP-1B.

This new engine maintenance cluster marks a major leap forward for the carrier. It will be instrumental in solidifying their position as a regional leader in engine maintenance. In addition, it will also propel the domestic aviation MRO industry forward.

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By Len Varley Assistant Editor
Now the Assistant Editor with AviationSource, I have almost 40 years' experience in aviation, starting in Australian flight crew and training. I worked as CFI/Chief Pilot with 2 organisations and was also a CASA approved testing officer and aeronautics lecturer. This led to components procurement for civil operators and the RAAF, and then maintenance programming with a global airborne geo-survey operator.