Delta Air Lines has bumped up its stake in Korean Air’s controlling shareholder to 11%.

A stock exchange disclosure by Hanjin KAL indicates that the US carrier owns 6.5 million of its shares as of 20 February, up from 5.5 million shares or 9.21% previously, through “acquisition of shares due to trading”.

The US carrier first acquired a 4.3% stake in Hanjin KAL last June, while indicating plans to target 10%.

At the end of July, Delta grew its shareholdings to 5.13% and increased this further to 9.21% in September.

“Our joint venture partnership remains strong,” Korean tells Cirium, in response to queries on Delta’s stake in Hanjin KAL exceeding the 10% threshold.

Delta declined to comment when contacted by Cirium.

Regarding their partnership, Korean adds: “The synergy of Korean Air’s network competitiveness and Delta’s sales power in the transpacific region have resulted in the growth of the US-Southeast Asia traffic. In 2019, there was a growth of about 8% in revenue (year-over-year) for the US routes and a growth of 4% in revenue (year-over-year) for the Southeast Asia routes.”

The two SkyTeam carriers launched an immunised joint venture across the Pacific in May 2018. The partnership has allowed both airlines to add new routes in the market, including from Boston and Minneapolis/St Paul to Seoul Incheon.

Last September, Delta inked an interline agreement with Jin Air, also controlled by Hanjin KAL, giving it access to the budget carrier’s network in Asia.