South Korea’s two main airlines are set to merge as it has been announced Korean Air plans to acquire Asiana Airlines.
The country’s airline industry has been severely impacted during the Covid-19 pandemic, with both carriers operating greatly reduced schedules and parking many aircraft.
This move is intended to bring some stability in the future, and the owners of Korean Air, the Hanjin Group hope to offer better service and competitiveness for customers.
“Korean Air’s acquisition and the expansion of its routes, fleet and capacity will give the airline the competitiveness to compete with global mega airlines,” said Hanjin Group.
“The merger of the two airlines is expected to further enhance the competitiveness of the Korean aviation industry with more streamlined route operations and lower costs. More slots secured at Incheon International Airport, a transport hub in Asia, through the consolidation of the airlines, may lead to an increase in joint ventures with global airlines and greater transfer demand, which will also spur the growth of the domestic aviation industry.
70% of the two carriers’ route networks overlap, and they operate a number of similar aircraft types.
For enthusiasts, it’s likely to mean the Asiana brand disappears and its aircraft are either retired or merged with Korean Air, taking on their branding. This could mean we’ll see types like the Airbus A350 wearing Korean Air’s blue livery!
It is not yet certain what will happen with the two carriers’ low-cost subsidiaries – namely Jin Air (owned by Korean Air) and Air Busan and Air Seoul (owned by Asiana).