The Korea Herald


Asiana Airlines speeds up integration with Korean Air

By Byun Hye-jin

Published : March 27, 2023 - 15:42

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Asiana Airlines Vice President Won Yoo-suk (Asiana Airlines) Asiana Airlines Vice President Won Yoo-suk (Asiana Airlines)

Asiana Airlines said Monday it has formed a task force to accelerate the business integration process with Korean Air.

The task force, headed by Asiana Airlines Vice President Won Yoo-suk, consists of a total of 42 staff and executives.

Legal and strategic planning units will oversee the task force. The passenger and cargo business, finance and public relations units will also be collecting data requested by the remaining three jurisdictions -- the European Union, the US and Japan -- from which Asiana Airlines and Korean Air need to get approval as the proceed with the ongoing acquisition deal.

The data include Asiana Airlines’ passenger flight and cargo transportation routes and their financial status after the acquisition, sources said.

In Nov. 2020, South Korea’s largest air carrier signed a 1.8 trillion won ($1.2 billion) deal to acquire a 63.9 percent stake of the debt-ridden Asiana Airlines to step up as the largest shareholder.

“We are separately preparing the related documents. It is undecided yet whether Korean Air’s acquisition task force will put together our data and submit them to the foreign regulators,” said an official from Asiana Airlines.

Compared to the former team that had been led by the head of strategic business division, the new task force shows Asiana’s commitment to complete the business integration with the national carrier, the company said.

But the official declined to answer whether upgrading the team was per the request of Korean Air.

“We are going all out to cater to the demand for a massive amount of data from the EU, the US and Japan. The EU, in particular, pushed the deadline for the second-phase assessment (on the two airlines’ business integration),” the official said. Earlier this month, the deadline was delayed from July 5 to Aug. 3.

In February, the European Commission announced it will carry out an in-depth investigation on the matter, citing concerns that the acquisition might weaken the competition in passenger and cargo air transport services between the European Economic Area and South Korean markets.

Of the other two countries yet to issue approvals, the US Department of Justice is reviewing the deal, while Japan is in preliminary talks with Korean Air.

Out of a total of 14 countries, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines received approvals from 11 countries, including Britain, which gave the green light earlier this month.