DALLAS – In his New Year’s address to staff, Korean Air (KE) chief Walter Cho has highlighted the importance of keeping ahead of the competition for 2023 as the industry recovers from the Covid pandemic.
“We’ve seen a glimpse of normalization, and the airports are beginning to bustle with passengers we have missed dearly. We also found hope and pleasure in returning to work to see our colleagues,” Cho said on the company’s employee website. “We need to identify in advance our customers’ preferred destinations and services and analyze when and where to add operations as well as which services to enhance.”
Despite warning of challenges ahead, Cho reassured staff, “There have been many obstacles in our path, but we have always conquered them and used them to open up new possibilities. We will leverage the knowledge gained from our more than 50 years of expertise to address our future.”
The chairman also highlighted the significance of effectively completing the acquisition of Asiana Airlines (OZ) within the year. “2023 is a pivotal year for completing the huge task of closing our acquisition of Asiana Airlines. We are in the last stage with the remaining overseas competition authorities reviewing the merger,” Cho said.
The merger has hit numerous delays in recent months, with several competition authorities, including the US and UK raising concerns over the deal. The combined airlines, which would become the world’s seventh largest, would hold 66.64% of the South Korean/US market share.
Cho also discussed KE’s environment, social, and corporate governance (ESG) obligations, “ESG management is no longer a choice, but mandatory to the survival of our future,” he said.
“We’ve always been committed to the well-being of our society. Introducing eco-friendly aircraft, reducing waste through increased in-cabin recycling, and operating an ESG committee to improve governance are all part of our efforts to support our social responsibility. We will not stop here, but continue to make Korean Air a responsible company that fulfills its corporate responsibilities and is beloved by its customers.”
Featured Image: Korean Air will keep its name after the merger with Asiana. Photo: Liam Funnell/Airways.