Korean Air, which was acquired by Hanjin Transportation in 1969, had a monopoly on the South Korean airline industry until the establishment of Asiana in 1988. Asiana's formation did not come about as a policy initiative favoring liberalized market conditions, but rather because of pressure from other chaebols and interests that wanted to compete. It was formed by the Kumho Asiana Group and was originally known as Seoul Air International. Asiana was established on 17 February 1988 and started operations in December 1988 with flights to Busan. As of 2007, the airline was owned by private investors , Kumho Industrial , Kumho Petrochemical , foreign investors , Korea Development Bank , and others .
Beginning regular service
Asiana began operations in December 1988, using Boeing 737 Classic aircraft, with flights to Busan and Gwangju. In 1989, Asiana began regular services to Jeju City, Gwangju, and Daegu, and later the same year, began international chartered flights to Sendai in Japan. In 1990, Asiana began its first scheduled international services, to the Japanese cities of Tokyo, Nagoya, Sendai, and Fukuoka. In the same year, Asiana had nine Boeing 747-400s, 20 Boeing 767-300s, and eight Boeing 737-400s. In early 1991, Asiana began services to Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taipei. Transpacific flights to Los Angeles began in December 1991 with a Boeing 747-400 Combi. Services to Vienna, Brussels, and Honolulu began in the mid-1990s. In 1993, Asiana began services to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
Expansion as global carrier and joining Star Alliance
Asiana Airlines has rapidly expanded since its establishment in 1988 to become a mid-sized global carrier with a current fleet of 85 aircraft. In December 1998, the airline operated an aircraft on behalf of the president of South Korea for the first time. The airline was listed in KOSDAQ In December 1999. On 28 January 2003, the airline became a full Star Alliance member, expanding its worldwide network and global brand. In 2004, the airline added Airbus A330s and the Boeing 777-200ERs to its fleet, and expanded its routes into mainland China. Currently, it provides international services to 71 cities in 23 countries on 91 routes and domestic services to 12 cities on 14 routes. It also provides international cargo services to 29 cities in 14 countries on 28 routes by Asiana Cargo, the airline's freight division. In 2012, the airline had net sales of US$5.3 billion.
New corporate identity
In February 2006, Asiana Airlines modernized its corporate identity for unification with those of other divisions of its parent company the Kumho Asiana Group. The names of the travel classes have changed from first, business, and economy classes to first, business, and travel classes, respectively, and the colors of the travel classes have changed to yellow, blue, and red for first, business, and travel, respectively. New uniforms were also created for the crew.
Asiana began to focus on being an environmentally friendly company in the mid-1990s, leading to decisions such as completely banning in-flight smoking and cigarette sales in 1995. The company was awarded first-in-class certification by the International Organization for Standardization for meeting the criteria for ISO 14001 in 1996. In 2001, Asiana Airlines was recognized for being the "first environmentally friendly company within the service industry" by the South Korean Ministry of Environment. Some of Asiana's other environmentally minded programs include an emissions measurement and reduction system; reducing pollution from ground facilities; and partnering with the Rainforest Alliance for coffee served on board.Airline of the Year Awards:
In 2009, Air Transport World awarded Asiana its Airline of the Year award, a coveted and one of the most honorable awards in the airline industry.In 2010, Asiana Airlines was named Airline of the Year by Skytrax at the 2010 World Airline Awards.In 2011, Global Traveller awarded the airline 2011 Airline of the Year and the top airliner in six other categories.
In 2012, Business Traveller awarded the airline 2012 Best Overall Airline in the World.
With these achievements attained over four consecutive years, Asiana Airlines is recognised as a Golden Grand Slam Airline, the first airline to achieve this. Apart from this prestigious title, the company has received the Best Airline for Onboard Service and Flight Attendants for eight consecutive years, among other awards. Asiana Airlines is rated as a "5-Star" airline by Skytrax.
In April 2019, Asiana Airlines parent company, Kumho Asiana Group announced their plan to sell Asiana Airlines as a solution to its financial crisis.The sale of Asiana Airlines began in July 2019. In June 2019, Aekyung Group, the parent company of Korean low-cost carrier Jeju Air, was considered as a strong candidate to take over. Korean Air's parent company, Hanjin Group, and SK Group also considered purchasing.Asiana Airlines discontinued unprofitable routes throughout July 2019 to October 2019, including Seoul–Incheon to Chicago–O'Hare, Delhi, Khabarovsk and Sakhalinsk.On 25 July 2019, Kumho Asiana Group, the parent company of Asiana Airlines, officially announced its intention to sell Asiana Airlines for an estimated price of 1.5 to 2.0 trillion won . Asiana Airlines includes subsidiaries Air Busan, Air Seoul, Asiana IDT and other subsidiary companies. AeKyeong Group, the parent company of Jeju Air, has expressed interest in acquiring Asiana Airlines.On 4 September 2019, Aekyung Group, Mirae Asset Daewoo, and Korea Corporate Governance Improvement applied a letter of intent to acquire Asiana Airlines. On 12 November, a consortium of HDC Hyundai Development Company and Mirae Asset Daewoo was selected as the preferred bidder.Asiana Airlines has chosen to retire older aircraft, including Boeing 747-400s and Boeing 767-300s, allowing the airline to reduce debt and weakness.
In July 2020, HDC Hyundai Development Company received approval from Russian authorities for its acquisition of Asiana Airlines. However, on 11 September 2020, Korea Development Bank, the primary creditor for Asiana Airlines, and Kumho Asiana Group officially cancelled the merger with HDC Hyundai Development Company. Asiana Airlines will be run by creditors until a new owner is approved by the South Korean government.
Merger and acquisition by Korean Air
On 16 November 2020, the Government of the Republic of Korea officially announced that Asiana Airlines will be acquired by Korean Air, which will acquire a 30.77% stake in Asiana from Korea Development Bank. Korea Development Bank, a state-run bank in Korea, will give 800 billion won to Hanjin KAL, the holding company of Korean Air. The two airlines will operate as separate brands until integration is complete. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport will integrate subsidiaries Air Busan, Air Seoul, and Jin Air. The combined low-cost carrier will focus on regional airports in Korea and flying regional Asia-Pacific routes. When Asiana Airlines will withdraw from Star Alliance is unknown, as the surviving brand, Korean Air, is a founding airline within the rival SkyTeam alliance.
In March 2021, Korean Air announced it would delay the merger with Asiana Airlines due to delay of antitrust approval from the government and six foreign authorities . Korean Air will operate Asiana Airlines as a subsidiary for next two years, after which it will combine its operation, IT, and other systems into single system until 2024. Once the merger is complete, Asiana Airlines could become a member of SkyTeam. According to The Korea Times, only Turkey has approved the antitrust deal so far. On June 30, 2021, the post-merger plans between two airlines were reported to have been finalized and approved by Korea Development Bank. In August 2021, the Malaysian Aviation Commission approved the merger between Korean Airlines and Asiana Airlines, citing economical efficiencies and social benefits.
Mr. Ja-Jun Gu (Sr. MD & Head of Cabin Division)
Mr. Gwang-Suk Kim (Sr. MD & Head of Cargo Division)
Mr. Sung-Kwon Jung (Sr. MD & Head of Strategic Planning Division)
Mr. Myung-Young Moon (Sr. MD & Head of Korea Region)
Mr. Kee Cheol (MD & Mang. of Seoul Flight Branch Office)
Mr. Yi-Bae Kim (MD & Head of America Region)
Mr. Seung-Young Kim (Sr. MD & Head of Flight Division)
Recognition and Awards
Chang-Soo Han (CEO & Pres)
Mr. Ho-Kyun Kim (Managing Director of Fin.)
Mr. Geun-Nyeung Oh (Sr. MD and Head of Management & Admin. Division)