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Home » With US DOJ ready to suit, the Korean Air-Asiana Airlines merger is slated for yet another setback.
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With US DOJ ready to suit, the Korean Air-Asiana Airlines merger is slated for yet another setback.

The Korean Air and Asiana Airlines merger is being discussed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), which is debating whether or not to file a lawsuit.

People with knowledge of the situation told Politico that the DOJ is concerned that the merger could hurt competition on passenger and freight flights between the US and South Korea. The judgment by the European Commission (EC), which claimed that the merger of Korean Air and Asiana Airlines would “restrict competition in the markets for passenger and cargo air transport services between the European Economic Area (‘EEA’) and South Korea,” is what prompted the announcement.

The Commission specifically stated that after conducting a thorough assessment, it had come to the conclusion that there would be less competition on passenger flights between South Korea and France, Germany, Italy, and Spain as well as on cargo flights between all of Europe and South Korea. The European Commission made its decision public on May 17, 2023, and Korean Air, which had first proposed the acquisition of Asiana Airlines in November 2020, received a declaration of objections. Walter Cho, the CEO of Korean Air, previously stated that the airline intended to complete the transaction sometime in 2023.

After Korean Air and Asiana Airlines proposed corrective measures, the UK’s antitrust Market Authority (CMA), the nation’s antitrust regulator, authorized the merger. These efforts included allowing Virgin Atlantic to fly between London, the UK, and Seoul, South Korea, by giving up slots at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) and Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN). On March 2, 2023, Virgin Atlantic joined the SkyTeam Alliance, making code-sharing agreements with other members of the airline alliance, such as Korean Air, simpler.

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