Vietnam’s competition regulators have approved Korean Air’s acquisition of rival and compatriot Asiana Airlines, the latest country to green-light the merger. 

In a 16 November statement, Korean Air says the approval from Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade has provided “a tailwind” for the merger, first announced a year ago. 


Source: Wikimedia Commons

A Korean Air Airbus A380 with an Asiana A380 at Seoul Incheon airport.

Apart from Vietnam, the carrier has received approvals from Thailand, Turkey, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines. It is currently awaiting decisions from countries and regions such as the European Union, the USA, Japan, China, as well as South Korea.

It had previously been reported that the Korean competition watchdog expects to finish its review by the end of the year, clearing a major hurdle for the merger. 

Korean Air submitted business combination reports to various regulators around the world in January for review of the proposed takeover. 

In its latest statement, the airline says that it hopes to complete the takeover and merger of Asiana “as soon as possible”. The carrier has set a 2024 target to complete the acquisition. 

Korean Air first announced plans to acquire its compatriot and rival Asiana in November 2020, after acknowledging the devastating impact the coronavirus outbreak has wrought on the airline industry. 

The carrier confirmed in June  that both full-service brands will be merged under one brand, while its low-cost affiliates — comprising Korean Air-linked Jin Air, as well as Asiana units Air Busan and Air Seoul — will also be combined.