Korean Air has extended the deadline to close its planned acquisition of local rival Asiana Airlines by three months.  

The South Korean flag carrier now plans to complete the deal by the end of September 2022, it said in a stock exchange statement on June 30, 2022. The carrier cited “non-fulfilment of the prerequisites for closing the transaction”, such as examination of the combination by international authorities.  

The merger, which will see Korean Air inject cash into struggling Asiana in exchange for a majority stake, still requires approval from antitrust regulators in major countries such as the United States, the European Union, China, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Australia. 

South Korea approved the combination on February 22, 2022, but with conditions on freeing up slots in order to try and prevent the tie-up from restricting competition too much on certain international and domestic passenger routes.   

The $1.6 billion deal, which has been delayed several times, is expected to create a carrier that will operate around 60% of international routes out of and into South Korea. Korean Air had hoped the combination with Asiana would complete by the end of 2021.  

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Singapore’s antitrust regulator has approved a merger between Korean and Air Asiana as the integration is “unlikely to raise ticket prices”.