The Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM) announced its approval of Korean Air’s business combination with Asiana Airlines on December 26.
MOFCOM has demanded that the merged Korean Air-Asiana entity reduce its market share due to competition concerns, to which Korean Air has submitted remedies proposing to transfer slots to any new airlines wishing to start air services on nine routes where both Korean Air and Asiana Airlines operate. Five of the nine routes have been proposed by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) earlier this year and an additional four routes have been advised by MOFCOM.
Korean Air expects MOFCOM’s approval of the business combination to play a positive role in the review process of the remaining competition authorities.
Currently, Korean Air is still waiting for business combination approvals from the U.S., E.U. and Japan, countries where reporting is mandatory, as well as the final approval from the U.K., where reporting is arbitrary. The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has accepted remedies submitted by Korean Air, but will gather opinions from the market before giving their official approval. Korean Air will continue to cooperate closely with the remaining competition authorities to ensure the review process is completed as soon as possible.
The airline submitted business combination reports to the nine countries that require reporting on January 14, 2021. Out of these nine countries, Korean Air has received approval from China, Korea, Turkey, Taiwan and Vietnam. The Thailand Competition Commission announced that submission of a business combination report was not necessary.
From countries where reporting is arbitrary, Korean Air has received clearance from Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. The Philippines has confirmed that the business combination report was not required.
Top Copyright Photo: Korean Air Airbus A330-323 HL8025 (msn 1611) SEA (Brian Worthington). Image: 959756.
After two years of stoppage due to the pandemic, direct flights between Italy and South Korea resumed on June 18, 2022 thanks to the connections available between Rome Fiumicino and Seoul of the Korean company Asiana Airlines.
The celebrations for the reopening of flights between the two countries took place today at Pier E of Leonardo Da Vinci airport, with presence of the Korean Ambassador to Italy Lee Seong Ho, the Director of the Korean Cultural Institute Chun Ye Jin, the President of the FITA (Italian Federation of Taekwondo) Angelo Cito, of the President of the Korean community Ryou Kyoung Hoon, of the General Manager Italy of Asiana Airlines Kim Hyeoktae and of the Head of Aviation Business Development of Aeroporti di Roma Federico Scriboni.
For the moment, the Asiana Airlines route will have a twice-weekly frequency, departing every Tuesday and Saturday. Thanks to the connections of Asiana Airlines, making a stopover at Seoul Incheon airport, it will be possible to reach other destinations, including Japan, China and some areas of the Pacific.
Large wide body airliners (like the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747) have been hard to fill for airlines since the COVID-19 pandemic exploded around the world this spring. Many airlines have parked their Jumbos and some have moved up the planned retirement dates of the Boeing 747-400.
If you want to fly on the passenger type you better hurry. Other than governments and cargo operators, finding a passenger Boeing 747-400 flight is a challenge right now.
Some aircraft in storage will probably become active again when the passenger demand dictates the use of large wide body aircraft again. If the demand does not come back quickly it will probably mean the end of those aircraft in storage.
Above Photos: Boeing.
Below is the current situation based on the latest information for passenger airlines (corrections and additions are always welcome) (subject to change depending on returning traffic):
Air Atlanta Icelandic – The charter and ACMI specialist airline has five passenger 747-400s. Three are currently stored and two are operating on ACMI assignments.
Above Copyright Photo: Air Atlanta Icelandic Boeing 747-412 TF-AMI (msn 27066) LGW (Antony J. Best). Image: 928104.
Air China – Two 747-400s are operational (B-2445 and B-2447) but they stay mostly in China these days. Another aircraft (B-2472) is operated for the government. Air China also continues to operate the newer 747-800.
Above Copyright Photo: Air China Boeing 747-4J6 B-2445 (msn 25882) JFK (Ken Petersen). Image: 902765.
Asiana Airlines – Only one 747-400 passenger aircraft (HL7428) is active these days so the type is probably ready to be retired this year.
Above Copyright Photo: Asiana Airlines Boeing 747-48E HL7428 (msn 28552) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 910887.
Atlas Air – The charter and ACMI specialist airline currently has three active passenger 747-400s (N464MC, N465MC and N480MC). Assuming charter demand continues this airline could be one of the last passenger operators.
Above Copyright Photo: Atlas Air Boeing 747-446 N465MC (msn 24784) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 921869.
British Airways – The former largest 747-400 passenger operator has stored all 28 aircraft pending a return of passenger demand. For now, G-CIVO operated the last revenue flight (BA9116 LOS-LHR) on May 11, 2020.
Above Copyright Photo: British Airways Boeing 747-436 (Tails) LHR (Dave Glendinning). Image: 908409.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines – As previously reported, PH-BFT operated the last regular revenue flight (KL686 MEX-AMS) on March 29, 2020. However the Jumbo was brought out of retirement to operate special medical cargo flights (along with PH-BFV and PH-BFW) during the pandemic. All 3 are expected to be re-retired again this year.
Above Copyright Photo: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747-406 PH-BFT (msn 28459) (100 Years) AMS (Ton Jochems). Image: 949485.
Lufthansa – The company was originally planning to retire the 747-400 fleet in 2025. That all changed with the pandemic. All 8 that remain operational are now in storage pending a return of passenger demand. D-ABVX operated the last 747-400 passenger revenue flight (LH637 RUH-FRA) on May 8, 2020.
Air India – Four 747-400s are parked and not likely to return. VT-ESO operated the last revenue flight (AI966 HYD-BOM) on March 15, 2020.
China Airlines – Four passenger 747-400s are in storage and are not likely to return. B-18215 operated the last revenue flight (CI916 HKG-TPE) on March 15, 2020.
Corsair International – The French carrier parked its three passenger Boeing 747-400s in March and they are not likely to return. F-GTUI operated the last revenue flight (S5 927 PTP-ORY) on March 26, 2020,
El Al Israel Airlines – 4X-ELC operated the last passenger 747-400 revenue flight (LY1747 FCO-TLV) on November 3, 2019.
Iraqi Airways – The last passenger Boeing 747-400 (YI-ASA) operated the last revenue flight (IA3114, MED-BGW) on February 2, 2020.
Korean Air – HL7402 operated the last 747-400 passenger revenue flight (KE630 DPS-ICN) on February 29, 2020. Korean Air continues to operate the newer 747-800.
Mahan Air – The Iranian airline was recently again operating EP-MNB (February 2020) but it appears to be no longer flying, probably due to the embargo.
QANTAS Airways – The flag carrier decided to early retire the type due to a much lower demand. VH-OEE operated the last revenue flight (QF28 SCL-SYD) on March 29, 2020.
Thai Airways International – The flag carrier is in reorganization and is cutting costs and reducing aircraft types. HS-TGA operated the last 747-400 revenue flight (TG476 SYD-BKK) on March 26, 2020.
Virgin Atlantic Airways – G-VROS operated the last revenue flight (VS608 LAX-LHR) on March 31, 2020.
Poll. Who do you think will be the last Boeing 747-400 passenger airline operator?
Asiana Airlines is being forced to suspend its daily service to San Francisco from March 3 through April 16, 2020.
The decision was an outcome of the tragic 2013 crash landing at SFO. The Transport Ministry of South Korea ordered the suspension. Asiana appealed the decision but the Supreme Court of South Korea upheld the original decision.
Asiana Airlines is introducing its new Airbus A350-900 to the Seoul (Incheon) – London (Heathrow) route starting on October 29, 2017 with flights OZ521/OZ522. Thye new type will be initially operated three days a week (Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays).