The merger between Korean Air and Asiana Airlines has hit a roadblock
despite gaining approval from several countries, including China,
Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Australia.
The UK's anti-trust body, the Competition and Markets Authority
(CMA), has called for an additional two months to make a decision
regarding the merger amid suggestions it would reduce competition.
Korean Air and Asiana Airlines are the only carriers operating direct flights between Seoul and London.
Korean Air and Asiana Airlines signed off on the proposed merger
between the two South Korean carriers almost two years ago, but the deal
is still waiting to be approved by UK, EU, US, and Japanese
The deal needs to gain approval from each of the remaining authorities before it can proceed.
Another airline partnership under scrutiny is that between Qantas and
Emirates, which is due for renewal. The Australian Federation of Travel
Agents (AFTA) is contesting a five-year renewal of the airlines’
10-year standing agreement, arguing that it does not keep airfares down.
AFTA claims airlines were holding back some types of fares from
competitive distribution to drive traffic to their own websites.
“This activity is enabling airlines to become the sole price makers
and therefore increase the margins on their cheapest products with no
pressure from the market,” AFTA says.