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Japanese Regulatory Authority Grants Approval for Korean Air's Asiana Airlines Merger

NSP NEWS AGENCY, By Eun-young Huh and Bok-hyun Lee, 2024-02-05 11:33 ENX7
#Korean Air #Airline Merger

(Seoul=NSP NEWS AGENCY) = The regulatory process for the corporate merger between Korean Air and Asiana Airlines has achieved a breakthrough by securing approval from Japan's regulatory body. This milestone means that only approvals from the United States and the European Union remain pending for the merger.

On January 31, Korean Air officially announced that it had received the green light for the corporate merger, specifically related to the acquisition of Asiana Airlines, from the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), the mandated reporting authority for Japan.

With this approval, Korean Air has now secured clearance from 12 out of the 14 countries where approval is necessary for the merger.


However, the Japanese regulatory authority raised concerns regarding the potential increase in market share and competition restrictions on routes between South Korea and Japan if Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Jin Air, Air Busan, and Air Seoul were to merge. Consequently, the JFTC requested remedial measures for certain routes.

In response, Korean Air engaged in close consultations with the Japanese regulatory authority and excluded five routes out of the 12 that overlapped in terms of operations between the merging airlines, as these were deemed to pose no competition concerns.

Furthermore, to address competition concerns on specific routes, Korean Air has agreed to transfer some slots to low-cost carriers and other remedy takers for four routes from Seoul (Seoul-Osaka, Sapporo, Nagoya, Fukuoka) and three routes from Busan (Busan-Osaka, Sapporo, Fukuoka) if requested for operation.

Although the Japanese regulatory authority expressed concerns about competition restrictions on Korea-Japan cargo routes, it did not mandate specific remedial measures except the signing of a Block Space Agreement (BSA) for cargo supply on some routes from Japan to Korea following the Asiana Airlines' decision to sell its cargo business.

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