Singapore approves Korean Air’s business combination with Asiana Airlines

Korean Air received unconditional approval from the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) for its business combination with Asiana Airlines on February 8.

Following its assessment, the CCCS has concluded that Korean Air’s acquisition of Asiana Airlines will not infringe Singapore’s Competition Act.

Singapore’s competition authority conducted a public consultation in July last year to seek feedback from more than 150 stakeholders, including aviation regulatory bodies, competitors and customers, on Korean Air’s business combination report.

The CCCS found that the merged entity is unlikely to raise ticket prices due to the high degree of competition from competitor airlines such as Singapore Airlines in the passenger business. In the cargo business, the authority also concluded that the merger would not reduce competition due to the significant pressure from existing and potential competitors such as Singapore Airlines and providers of indirect cargo flights, as well as excess capacity. Following the assessment, the CCCS approved the business combination of the two airlines.

Since the airline submitted business combination reports to nine countries that require reporting in January 2021, Korean Air has received approval from Turkey, Taiwan and Vietnam. The Thailand Competition Commission announced that the submission of a business combination report was not necessary.

From countries where reporting is arbitrary, Korean Air has also received clearance from Malaysia in addition to Singapore. The Philippines has confirmed that the business combination report was not necessary.

In order to finalize the acquisition process as early as possible, Korean Air will continue to proactively communicate and cooperate with the remaining regulatory bodies where the report is required, including the United States, the European Union, China and Japan, as well as the United Kingdom and Australia, where reporting is arbitrary.