Korean Air & Asiana Merger Approved by Japan

A Korean Air Boeing 737 in flight.
Photo Credit: Korean Air

This week it has been revealed that the Korean Air and Asiana merger has now been approved by the Japanese competition authority.

This article will cover the details surrounding the approval from Japan of Korean Air and Asiana’s proposed merger.

Japan Approves Korean Air & Asiana Merger

Photo Credit: MarcelX42, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On January 31, 2024, the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) has approved the merger of Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, becoming the 12th authority to approve the merger.

The JFTC had requested Korean Air to submit remedies on a select number of routes between Korea and Japan where the market share post-merger would limit competition, as well as both carrier’s subsidiary airlines, Jin Air, Air Busan and Air Seoul.

Following discussions, the JFTC had concluded that five of the 12 overlapping services were not subject to competition investigation, however the remaining seven routes the carrier has decided to cede a limited number of slots. Those seven routes are –

  • Seoul to Osaka
  • Seoul to Sapporo
  • Seoul to Nagoya
  • Seoul to Fukuoka
  • Busan to Osaka
  • Busan to Sapporo
  • Busan to Fukuoka

With regards to the air freight sector between the two countries, the JFTC had limited its request to enter the carrier into a BSA (Block Space Agreement) on select routes, given that fact that Korean Air will be divesting Asiana’s cargo arm.

There are now only two remaining bodies that are still reviewing the proposed merger, those two left are the European Union and the United States.

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