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Regulator to complete review of Korean Air's Asiana takeover deal this year

A Korean Air Boeing 787-9 (Korean Air)
A Korean Air Boeing 787-9 (Korean Air)
South Korea's antitrust regulator said Tuesday it plans to complete its review within this year of a deal by Korean Air Lines Co., the country's biggest carrier, to buy the debt-ridden Asiana Airlines Inc.

In a report to the National Assembly, the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said it plans to speed up the review in consideration of the value that the deal has for the country's economy.

In November 2020, Korean Air said it will acquire its smaller rival Asiana Airlines in a deal valued at 1.8 trillion won ($1.5 billion) that could create the world's 10th-biggest airline by fleets.

In January, the company asked the KFTC and antitrust authorities in eight other countries, including the United States and the European Union, to review the takeover deal. Currently, Turkey, Taiwan and Thailand have approved it.

Industry watchers expect the takeover, if approved, to reshape the country's airline sector that has been reeling from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But critics said the merger is feared to create a monopoly in the country's airline industry. (Yonhap)