19 February 2024

European Commission clears merger between Korean Air and Asiana

The European Commission (EC) has cleared a merger between the two largest airlines in South Korea, subject to novel remedies. 

After a Phase II investigation, the EC approved Korean Air’s proposed acquisition of Asiana on 13 February 2024.  This marks the first approval by the EC of a major airlines merger in the post-COVID period, and follows several recent mergers which the EC opposed.  Approval was granted on condition of remedies, including a divestment of Asiana’s cargo division and, in a move beyond traditional slot remedies, a divestment of assets to a new entrant on several passenger routes. 

The merger had already been granted approval by 12 competition authorities worldwide, including the Korean and UK competition authorities back in 2022 and 2023 respectively, and awaits approval only in the US. 

The RBB team, led by Miguel de la Mano, George Tucker and Alastair Carr, worked on behalf of Korean Air alongside Kim & Chang, Jones Day, DLA Piper and Allen & Overy.

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