SEOUL, May 1 (Korea Bizwire) — A transpacific joint venture between Korean Air Lines Co. and Delta Air Lines Inc. launched Tuesday to 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 options.
In March, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport approved the creation of the JV on the condition that the companies not reduce the current level of seats provided on the five routes between the two countries and to annually report achievements of customer benefits.
On its website, the ministry said the shared company will be maintained for at least 10 years.
The U.S. authorities approved the plan in November last year.
Forming joint ventures among air carriers is considered the highest level of business partnership, beyond codeshare agreements that simply allow two or more airlines to share the same flight, as they split up the costs and revenues.
Some other services to be offered include improved reciprocal loyalty program benefits, such as providing customers the ability to earn more customer mileage, according to Korean Air.
Both airlines are founding members of the SkyTeam Airline Alliance and have offered customers an expanded code-share network since 2016.
The launch of JV comes as the founding family members of Korean Air have been under fire for abusing employees and contractors.
South Korean police and the customs office also have been investigating allegations that family members of Korean Air Chairman Cho Yang-ho smuggled luxury goods into the country without properly paying duties.
Chairman Cho offered a public apology due to mounting public outrage over his daughter Hyun-min, who is accused of throwing water in the face of an ad agency manager during a meeting last month.
She is the younger sister of Cho Hyun-ah, who gained global notoriety for the “nut rage” incident in 2014. She forced a plane back to the boarding gate at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport because she was upset with the way her nuts were served — in an unopened bag instead of on a plate.
In March, Hyun-ah made a comeback as the head of KAL Hotel Network, the operator of the Grand Hyatt Incheon, near Incheon International Airport.
Both sisters have since been stripped of their posts at the conglomerate.