Advised by Gilbert + Tobin, Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. (Korean Air) has achieved unconditional ACCC clearance of its proposed acquisition of a majority stake in Asiana Airlines, Inc. (Asiana) valued at approximately A$1.6 billion. 

The ACCC has announced that it will not oppose Korean Air’s proposed acquisition of Asiana.

Korean Air is the national carrier of South Korea and Asiana is the country’s second largest airline, both offering air passenger and air cargo services, with domestic and international operations.  Korean Air and Asiana both operate direct air passenger services between Sydney and Seoul, and also offer air cargo services between South Korea and Australia. 

The ACCC noted that the acquisition will combine the only two current providers of direct air passenger services between Sydney and Seoul.  However, the ACCC took into account that Jetstar and Qantas are commencing direct air passenger flights on this route from November and December 2022 respectively, and are selling tickets. 

The ACCC also noted that Korean Air and Asiana are both significant providers of direct air cargo services between Sydney and Seoul, through belly freight on air passenger services.  However, Jetstar and Qantas will also be supplying such services, through belly freight on its air passenger services.   

Taking into account this imminent new entry by Qantas and Jetstar, the ACCC found that a substantial lessening of competition is not likely to result from the proposed acquisition.     

The G+T team was led by Head of Competition, Consumer + Market Regulation, Elizabeth Avery, with support from special counsel Rebecca Dollisson, and lawyers Johnathon Geagea, Jacqueline Reid and Aaron Park.

The proposed merger remains subject to regulatory approvals in some remaining jurisdictions.

Commenting on the transaction, Elizabeth said: "The airline industry has experienced significant disruption in the past few years. We are delighted to have worked together with Korean Air to achieve such a fantastic result, enabling Korean Air and Asiana to continue to provide a competitive offering to and from Australia."  

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