The aviation industry could see more consolidation between airlines from the same country in the wake of Korean Air and Asiana Airlines acquisition deal, International Air Transport Association (Iata) regional vice-president for the Asia-Pacific Conrad Clifford said on November 25.
He told an online media briefing: “We’ve had a number of airlines who’ve tried to set up regional operations but they’ve tended to be challenged by the ownership and control rules that apply in different countries with respect to air operator certificates.
“I would think that cross-border consolidation is probably going to be unlikely. But consolidation within countries, I would think that’s certainly a possibility.”
His comments came on the same day as the Seoul Central District Court heard an injunction case brought by private equity fund KCGI, which leads a three-way alliance that owns a 46.71 per cent stake in Hanjin KAL – the holding company of Hanjin Group – alongside Bando Engineering & Construction, and Cho Hyun-ah, who is the current chairman’s sister.
If the fund’s injunction request is accepted, the high-profile acquisition deal between Korean Air and Asiana Airlines could break apart, leaving Asiana Airlines under the control of its current creditors including the state-owned Korea Development Bank.
The group led by KCGI has opposed Korean Air’s move to acquire Asiana Airlines since the acquisition plans emerged.
In a statement on November 25, Hanjin Group accused the equity fund of putting its profit before 100,000 people’s jobs and warned that KCGI’s injunction could lead to the collapse of South Korea’s aviation industry.
Later in the day, KCGI accused Hanjin Group of using jobs as leverage to push through the acquisition deal.
THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK