UK Authorities Give Green Light to Korean Air Asiana Airlines Merger

UK Authorities Give Green Light to Korean Air Asiana Airlines Merger

DALLAS – After months of reviews, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has finally approved the merger between Korean Air (KE) and Asiana Airlines (OZ).

The CMA was unhappy with the proposed tie-up, questioning the combined carriers’ monopoly on the Seoul-London route. Currently, OZ and KE are the only two airlines flying between Seoul Incheon (ICN) and London Heathrow (LHR).

However, “appropriate” remedies to this issue have been given by KE. This includes a new framework to offer slots allowing competitors to access the route.

Virgin Atlantic has committed to launching a new route between London and Seoul. Photo: Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic to Benefit

Virgin Atlantic (VS) looks set to benefit, with a commitment by the airline to launch a new service between the two city pairs with an up to daily frequency. The airline is expected to reveal plans for the route in due course but hopes to commence services either a year after the merger has been completed or during the 2024 IATA summer season.

VS and KE will also enter a codeshare agreement, with Virgin adding its designator code onto current Korean Air flights until its own services commence. This comes as VS is poised to join the SkyTeam alliance, of which KE is already a member.

The proposed acquisition has now been given the go-ahead by 11 countries but has yet to be approved by EU, US and Japanese competition authorities.

Korean Air said it “will continue to fully cooperate with all authorities to receive approvals at the earliest opportunity.”

Featured Image: Korean Air Boeing 777-2B5ER (HL7574). Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways.

European Deputy Editor
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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