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Watchdog To Review Korean Air, Asiana Airlines Merger Approval

 |  February 9, 2022

The state antitrust regulator is set to review granting approval to a merger of the country’s two full-service carriers, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines.

While the final decision by the Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) is not expected to be announced immediately after Wednesday’s general meeting, the regulator is anticipated to grant approval under conditions.

A KFTC evaluation report submitted to the general meeting last December suggested certain conditions be applied. Proposed measures include the top two carriers returning some of their redundant airport slots and a redistribution of transportation rights to ease monopoly concerns.

Both carriers reportedly submitted their response to the report late last month. It is speculated that Korean Air, seeking to acquire its smaller rival, likely refused to accept all of the regulator’s requirements.

Even after the KFTC gives the green light, the integration could fall through if antitrust regulators of six other countries, including the US, China and Japan disapprove of the merger. Five countries have already given the go-ahead.

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