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Airline Flies Empty A380 to Nowhere to Keep Its Pilots Certified

  • Asiana flew superjumbo over South Korea without passengers
  • Travel ban prevented pilots from using simulator in Thailand
An Asiana Airlines A380 aircraft taxis on the tarmac in Incheon, South Korea, in 2019.
An Asiana Airlines A380 aircraft taxis on the tarmac in Incheon, South Korea, in 2019.Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

Airlines are taking extreme measures to survive the pandemic, with Asiana Airlines Inc. flying the world’s biggest commercial plane more than 20 times, going nowhere and carrying no passengers, just to keep trainee pilots certified.

Keeping crew flight-ready is one of the challenges carriers face as they grapple with the unprecedented crisis that keeps more than a third of the world’s fleet grounded.