Korean Air is still awaiting regulatory approval for its acquisition of rival Asiana Airlines.

The South Korean flag carrier would become the world’s seventh largest airline in three years’ time, according to a plan submitted to state-owned Korea Development Bank.

A revised timeline calls for Asiana to be acquired in 2022, followed by completion of the merger in 2024. Korean Air had originally planned to complete the process by next year, reported the Korea Times.

Concerns have been raised over Korean Air’s monopoly on certain routes. 

Korean Air and Asiana’s portfolio currently includes three low-cost carriers, namely Air Busan, Air Seoul, and Jin Air.

Of the countries it is seeking antitrust approval from, only Turkey has approved the deal. Other jurisdictions, including South Korea, China, and the United States, have yet to give Korean Air the green light.

“Korean Air has no outstanding issues with the acquisition and, so far, the integration is going as we expected. The post merger plan has been submitted to the Korea Development Bank, and we secured enough liquidity to finalise the acquisition through raising the necessary capital,” a Korean Air spokesperson told Business Traveller.

“The acquisition can be finalised upon the merger approval from relevant countries, and we readjusted our timeline just in case some countries require more time to review and approve.”