The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has approved the Delta Air Lines-Korean Air transpacific joint venture (JV).   

“The DOT approval reflects the consumer benefits that will be created by the new joint venture,” Atlanta-based Delta said in a statement. “The two carriers will deepen their relationship, offering customers in the US and Asia an enhanced and expanded flight network as well as more compelling travel options.”

The SkyTeam members are still awaiting approval from South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. It is unclear how long that approval will take; it is believed to be the first time airlines have sought such an arrangement in South Korea.

The antitrust-immunized JV will enable the carriers to share costs and revenue on flights between the US and South Korea.

“The joint venture will create a combined network serving more than 290 destinations in the Americas and more than 80 in Asia, providing customers of both airlines with more travel choices than ever before,” Delta said. “The joint venture will provide both airlines with the expanded scale and scope to offer new alternatives to customers. The two airlines will also expand codeshare flights on transpacific routes.”

Delta launched daily Boeing 777-200ER flights between Atlanta and Seoul Incheon in June 2017 and expanded its codesharing with Korean Air, which already operated daily Seoul Incheon-Atlanta 777-300ER flights. Korean Air operates flights to 10 US destinations.

When initiated, the Delta-Korean Air JV will be the fourth international JV in which Delta is involved. It launched an antitrust-immunized transborder JV with Aeromexico in May 2017 and is part of two antitrust-immunized transatlantic JVs: one with Air France-KLM and Alitalia and another with Virgin Atlantic.

Aaron Karp aaron.karp@penton.com