Delta, Korean expand trans-Pacific partnership

Delta Air Lines and Korean Air have reached an agreement to expand their shared trans-Pacific network to increase travel choices and boost competition between the U.S. and Asia.

Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) and Korean Air Lines signed a memorandum of understanding to implement a joint venture arrangement to offer customers access to the two carriers’ comprehensive route network and create a seamless customer experience.

"This agreement deepens our longstanding partnership with Korean Air and will provide the global access and seamless service our customers demand," Ed Bastian, Delta CEO, said.

Korean Air officials sounded a similar note.

"We look forward to providing customers of both carriers with industry-leading service between the U.S. and Asia.”

“This Joint Venture will benefit our customers by providing more convenient connection schedules and widen their opportunities in earning mileages,” Yang Ho Cho, Korean Air’s chairman and CEO, added. “With this agreement, we will reinforce [Seoul’s] Incheon airport’s position as a major international hub in North East Asia and support the growth of Korea’s aviation industry.”

While the agreement is still subject to regulatory approvals, highlights include:

  • The intent to create a fully integrated trans-Pacific joint venture arrangement, with both airlines sharing the costs and revenues on flights and coordinating schedules for seamless, convenient connections. 
  • A combined network, serving more than 290 destinations in the Americas and more than 80 in Asia, providing customers of both airlines with greatly expanded travel choices. 
  • Enhanced frequent flyer benefits, providing customers of both airlines the ability to earn and redeem miles on Delta’s Sky Miles and Korean Air’s SKYPASS programs. 

Upon the signing of the final joint venture arrangement, Delta and Korean Air will work together to implement all aspects of the enhanced co-operation including expanded codesharing, frequent flyer programs and joint growth in the trans-Pacific market, with co-location at key hubs with seamless passenger and baggage transit experience, the carriers said.

Delta will be launching new nonstop service between Hartsfield-Atlanta International (ATL) and Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN) in June 2017, a flight that complements Korean Air’s existing service, providing customers in the U.S. with greater access to destinations across Asia. At the same time Korean Air will continue to expand its U.S. – Korea network in summer 2017 with the introduction of a third round-trip between Los Angeles International (LAX) and Seoul, as well as a second flight between San Francisco International (SFO) and Seoul.

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