Korean Air and Asiana Airlines merger delayed by two years

Mar 30, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s going to be a few more years until Korean Air lands on the world’s largest airlines list.

The carrier’s merger with Asiana Airlines just hit a snag during a regulatory review process. Now, the updated timeline proposes an acquisition in 2022 and a full merger by 2024, as first reported by The Korean Times. The original plan was for the takeover to be completed by next year.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

The holdup is reportedly due to getting antitrust approval from countries served by Korean. In a statement to TPG, Korean mentioned that it’s pleased with the merger progress thus far and will continue to readjust the timeline as needed.

Korean Air has no outstanding issues with the acquisition and, so far, the integration is going as we expected. The post merger plan has been submitted to the Korea Development Bank (KDB), and we secured enough liquidity to finalize the acquisition through raising the necessary capital. 

The acquisition can be finalized upon the merger approval from relevant countries, and we readjusted our timeline just in case some countries require more time to review and approve. The business integration plan involves every aspect of our operation and 2024 is what we are estimating finalize all aspects of the deal.  

We assume the plan will be revised after KDB’s review, and we will keep you posted.

In November 2020, Korean announced that it would acquire a nearly 64% stake in Asiana Airlines for 1.8 trillion won ($1.6 billion), South Korea’s second-largest airline. When complete, the two carriers will combine to become the seventh-largest airline in the world.

Effectively eliminating a competitor isn’t usually good news for travelers, especially in the case of Korean and Asiana, which both belong to two separate airline alliances.

Related: Best ways to redeem Chase points on Star Alliance airlines

If the deal goes through, it’s widely expected that Asiana will leave the Star Alliance and move to SkyTeam, of which Korean was a founding member.

That means those looking to score sweet-spot redemptions with Star Alliance partner loyalty programs, like Air Canada Aeroplan and United MileagePlus will need to make those bookings before the takeover is complete.

With international travel still largely off-limits, the delayed merger will buy some more time for savvy travelers to make those redemptions.

Featured photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.