Korean Air Lays Out Optimistic 2023 Plan With Asiana Merger

A Korean Air Aisbus taxis past an Asiana Airlines A380.
Hyeonwoo Noh, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – The flag carrier of South Korea, Korean Air is set to finalise the acquisition of its counterpart airline Asiana Airlines this year, as the company’s top man mentions this year being a “pivotal” year, due to increased competition and a rise in macro-economics uncertainty.

The company’s top boss, Walter Cho says the Korean flag carrier is in the last stages of completing the purchase of Asiana Airline announced in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.  

The merger gained confidence after it received the green light from regulators all around the world, including the Chinese, but is still awaiting from the USA and the European Union.  

Cho wrote an official statement, describing the importance of the coming 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. ”

Challenges Remain


Despite the optimism from all things considered, especially the merger with Asiana airline, the airline chief warned that there are several road bumps ahead.

He cited factors including economic uncertainty surrounding inflation, geopolitical uncertainties in North Asia, and the prolonged war in Ukraine. 

Korean Airlines is always constantly adjusting and reviewing business plans to keep up with the ever-competitive market landscape after the new year and to also ramp up services for the China re-opening on the 8th of January 2023.

Cho reiterated the need for his employees to “understand customers’ needs”. In his New Year’s address Cho stated:  “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.”

He furthered: “There have been numerous challenges on our way, but we’ve always overcome and leveraged them to create new opportunities.”

“We’re armed with more than half a century of experience and will use this insight to address our future.”

Sustainability Not Forgotten


Walter Cho also stresses the concern for environmental and sustainability causes. The company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) duties represent the airline’s initiative to better society.

Cho stated that “ESG management is no longer a choice, but mandatory to the survival of our future,” “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 fulfils its corporate responsibilities and is beloved by its customers.”

Bottom Line


Korean Air has had an impressive 2022, with profitability aided by its strong cargo operations.

The airline received media attention last year when it welcomed its first of 30 Airbus A321NEO jets and the first of the many 737MAX aircraft. The airline is set to soar as it finalises its deal with Asiana later this year.

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