Delta Buys Korean Air Shares, Eyeing Asia Expansion

Delta Air Lines announced today it has acquired a 4.3% stake in joint venture partner Korean Air Lines’ parent company with a view toward expanding across Asia. The No. 2 U.S. carrier said it intends to increase its stake in Hanjin Kal Corp, which owns about 30% of Korean Air, to 10% over time, after receiving regulatory approval.

Delta Buys Korean Air

The two airlines are members of the SkyTeam alliance and last year formed a joint venture that includes 290 U.S. destinations and over 80 in Asia. This year Delta launched new routes to Seoul and Osaka in partnership with Korean Air, Hanjin Kal’s flagship unit. Delta has said it sees Seoul’s Incheon International Airport, the hub of Korean Air, as a gateway for more destinations across Asia.

Delta did not disclose how much it paid for the 4.3% stake. But, based on current market prices, the transaction should be worth about $88 million.

Besides Korean Air, Delta also owns shares of Grupo Aeromexico, Air France KLM, China Eastern, Brazil’s Gol and Virgin Atlantic, and probably soon in Alitalia.

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