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Monday, November 23, 2020

Korean Errlines

The Korean Air - Asiana Airlines merger would face severe antitrust backlash anywhere, but Korea doesn't seem ready to welcome a foreign full-service carrier, and this is 2020. Yes, the new giant will lose many international routes, since Asiana competed with KAL on almost half of its overseas destinations, but it will also become a big player among Asia's low cost carriers after combining Jin Air, Air Seoul, and Air Busan (probably under the Asiana Airlines brand). Skyteam scores a major win against Star Alliance, and even slightly diluted as a KAL shareholder, Delta Airlines reinforces a key position in the region.

Needless to say, the pandemic spiced up this Korean drama where both Asiana suitors flew away: 

  • the preferred consortium (Hyundai Development Company - Mirae Asset - Daewoo) looked for every possible loophole to take off between the engagement and the wedding, 
  • Aekyung landed on a much smaller prey, beefing up its Jeju Air with Eastar Jet
  • in the end, Kumho Asiana will have to lead their daughter to their main rival

The Hanjin KAL holding company will be able to advance the funds thanks to KDB, who will get a bit more than 10% of the merged carrier. So indirectly, the government foots the bill. In spite of the chaebol family scandals (from the nutrage to its many sequels), the Cho must go on...

Earlier this year, Korean Air fared much better than its global rivals, mainly thanks to freight traffic. And these days, the most popular domestic route in the World happens to be between Seoul and Jeju, the nation's preferred holiday destination benefiting from the lack of overseas alternatives. 

(source "These Are the World’s Busiest Airline Routes During Covid Times" - Bloomberg 20201117)

After inventing flights to nowhere (take off and landing in the same airport), Korea opened its skies to international fly-over travels. So there's always a quick fix if you miss international travels. Even for those who miss Jin Air's inflight meals (this is 2020, you are entitled to miss anything), there's a solution - low cost, of course:

'Travel withdrawal syndrome? Jin Air proposes inflight meals at home (today's KJD). For this plastic frenzy to make perfect sense, they should add a hundred gallons of kerozene to burn in your living room' (@theseoulvillage - 20201024)

But for cheap and easy escapes, nothing beats a travel book:

'Lonely Planet' indeed (they forgot 'Glamping on the balcony') (@theseoulvillage - 20201023)

Hep, taxi!

Seoul Village 2020
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