October 5, 2022
Korean Air-Asiana Merger Unopposed by Australian Authorities
Airlines Industry

Korean Air-Asiana Merger Unopposed by Australian Authorities

DALLAS – The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has given the green light for the merger of Korean Air (KE) and Asiana Airlines (OZ).

The two carriers are currently the only operators of passenger and cargo flights between Seoul, South Korea and Sydney, Australia. However, the pair will soon have competition from Qantas (QF) and Jetstar (JQ), who will commence services on the route from November 2022.

ACCC Chairperson Gina Cass-Gottlieb said, “The acquisition will combine the only two current providers of direct flights between Sydney and Seoul. Critically, however, Qantas and Jetstar will shortly be commencing services on this route.”

Asiana currently has six Airbus A380s in service but plans to retire the type by 2026. Photo: Johann Heske/Airways.

She added, “We consider that the Qantas Group offering flights on the Sydney to Seoul route with both its full-service and low-cost carriers means that there is likely to be effective competition whether or not the acquisition proceeds.”

Gaining Approval

Australia now joins numerous other countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam to approve the merger. European and US approval is hoped to be granted by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s competition watchdog conditionally approved the merger in February. However, it has announced several measures to avoid competition concerns. This includes returning several slots for specific routes over ten years to allow other carriers to enter these markets.

Korean Air Boeing 737-8 (HL8352). Photo: Nick Sheeder/Airways.

Korean Air announced its intention to purchase rival Asiana in November 2020 to ‘restructure the Korean aviation market amid the unprecedented crisis faced by the global aviation industry due to COVID-19.’ The two carriers will operate independently until integration is complete under the Korean Air branding.

Featured Image: The merger between the two South Korean carriers was announced in November 2020. Photo: Hyeonwoo NohCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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