Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) and Korean Air (KE, Seoul Incheon) have announced their bid to establish a trans-Pacific joint venture has secured US Department of Transportation (DOT) approval. The motion comes despite pressure from each of Hawaiian Airlines (HA, Honolulu) and jetBlue Airways (B6, New York JFK) to have the proposed tie-up come under DOT anti-trust scrutiny.
“The DOT approval reflects the consumer benefits that will be created by the new joint venture,” a press release said. “The two carriers will deepen their relationship, offering customers in the U.S. and Asia an enhanced and expanded flight network as well as more compelling travel options.”
Under the terms of the joint-venture, which is still awaiting approval from the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Delta and Korean Air will seek to create a combined network serving more than 290 destinations in the Americas and more than eighty in Asia.
In particular, the two carriers will expand an existing codeshare agreement in the trans-Pacific market while implementing joint sales and marketing initiatives in Asia and the United States. Delta already codeshares on multiple Korean Air-operated flights across South Korea, as well as to Japan, the United States, Vietnam, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Cambodia, and Singapore. Korean Air, in turn, codeshares on Delta-operated flights across the United States.
Either carrier’s customers will also see tangible benefits through their proposed colocation at key hubs thereby offering a seamless passenger and baggage transit experience. They will also be able to earn and redeem miles on Delta’s SkyMiles and Korean Air’s SKYPASS programs. There will also be increased belly cargo cooperation across the trans-Pacific.
Operationally, the airlines will also share costs and revenue on flights within the scope of the joint venture.