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Changing the Air Cargo Landscape

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

Korean Air’s potential $1.6-billion acquisition of Asiana has the capability to alter the eastern air cargo landscape.


Nataliya Hora - stock.adobe.com

The possible purchase will result in the Korean Air becoming the tenth largest airline in the world and number one in the Asia-Pacific region. Additionally, the acquisition will make Korean Air the third largest cargo airline in the world, behind only Qatar Airways and Emirates.


This expansion is coming at a time when estimates for the Asian air cargo market have never been more positive. The East Asia – North America, Europe – East Asia, and intra-East Asia air freight lanes are global leaders in projected growth percentages and total cargo volumes.


“Korean Air is setting the table for a potential opportunity to carve out it’s slice of the Asian air cargo market,” said Peter Hsieh, OEC’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Northeast region, “The fleet they are building, along with their freighters’ ability to haul more inventory than counterparts from other nations, is extremely enticing to any party interested in air transport.”

Once the deal is complete, Korean Air will hold 40-percent of passenger and cargo slots at Incheon Airport, giving it a commanding majority of all air traffic at South Korea’s main airport. This position of strength will establish the airline as the dominant player in East Asia.


Once this merger is finalized, Korean Air will have more than 250 planes and boast a valuation of around $36 billion,” said Alan Dong, OEC’s Regional Air Freight Manager. “This will allow the airline to have more influence in air freight and create a different dynamic in the region.”
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