Korean Air has acquired its main competitor, Asiana Airlines, which is in financial difficulties. The two will together become one of the ten largest airlines in the world. The acquisition involves an amount of 1.4 billion euros.
Korean Air parent company Hanjin is receiving aid from the South Korean government to finance the acquisition. This way, the government wants to prevent the country’s second-largest airline from going bankrupt and losing a lot of jobs and connectivity. Asiana also owns low-cost carriers Air Busan and Air Seoul.
It is not yet clear whether Asiana will now leave Star Alliance and join SkyTeam, of which Korean Air is a part. Initially they will remain two separate brands.
Asiana’s fleet partly overlaps with that of Korean Air. For example, both airlines fly with the Airbus A380: Asiana has six, Korean Air ten. The Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 are also used by both companies, which simplifies the merger.