ACCC gives the green light for Korean Air buy

QANTAS Group’s decision to launch full and low-cost services between Sydney and Seoul in November has helped competitor Korean Air achieve ACCC clearance for its acquisition of fellow South Korean airline Asiana Airlines.

This week the competition watchdog gave the green light to the purchase after flagging concerns earlier this year about the move potentially causing damage to consumer interest given the two carriers were the only two operating on the Sydney to Seoul route.

However, with the Flying Kangaroo and Jetstar selling tickets on the route, the ACCC said the acquisition would be unopposed.

“We consider that the Qantas Group offering flights on the Sydney to Seoul route with both its full-service and low-cost carriers means that there is likely to be effective competition whether or not the acquisition proceeds,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.

The competition body also noted that some market participants had raised concerns that if Korean Air was the only provider of air passenger services on the Sydney/Seoul route it could increase prices and lead to a reduction of service levels, however, it found that a substantial lessening of competition is not likely to result from the proposed acquisition.

An ACCC decision was originally scheduled for March.

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