by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | April 05, 2018
Delta Air Lines and Korean Air have announced a new joint-venture partnership that has been approved by regulatory authorities in the U.S. and Korea, including the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The two airlines' combined network will give customers access to more than 290 destinations in the Americas and more than 80 in Asia.
 
"This is an exciting time for customers of both Delta and Korean Air as we launch our trans-Pacific partnership," said Ed Bastian, chief executive officer of Delta, in a statement. "Our expanded partnership means a host of new destinations and travel options across Asia and North America, with seamless connectivity, world-class reliability and the industry's best customer service."
 
The airlines will work closely together to bring customers the full benefits of the partnership, including joint growth in the transpacific market, optimized schedules, a more seamless customer experience, improved loyalty-program benefits, integrated IT systems, joint sales and marketing activities, and co-location at key hubs.
 
"We are delighted to announce the launch of our partnership with Delta. This partnership will bring more comfort to customers flying between Asia and the Americas," said Yang Ho Cho, chairman and CEO of Korean Air. "With the recent relocation to Terminal 2 at Incheon Airport alongside with Delta, we will be able to provide seamless service to our customers. Korean Air will provide extensive support to develop a successful partnership with Delta."
 
The new joint venture builds on nearly two decades of close partnership between Korean Air and Delta; both were founding members of the SkyTeam [www.skyteam.com] alliance and have offered customers an expanded codeshare network since 2016. In the coming months, the two airlines will roll out the following initiatives:
 
• Implement full reciprocal codesharing on each other's networks and work together to provide the best travel experience for customers between the U.S. and Asia;
• Offer improved reciprocal loyalty-program benefits, including providing customers of both airlines the ability to earn more miles on Korean Air's Skypass and Delta's SkyMiles programs;
• Begin implementing joint sales and marketing initiatives, and
• Increase belly-cargo cooperation across the transpacific.
 
Earlier this year, Delta and Korean Air co-located in the new, state-of-the-art Terminal 2 at Seoul's Incheon International Airport (ICN) [www.seoul-airport.com], substantially reducing connecting times for customers. One of the world's largest airports, ICN has among the fastest connection times in the region. It has been named among the best airports in the world for more than a decade by Airports Council International, as well as the world's cleanest airport and the world's best international transit airport by Skytrax.
 
Delta said it anticipates that Seoul Incheon will continue to grow as a major Asia gateway for Delta and Korean Air. Delta is the only U.S. carrier to offer nonstop service to three major U.S. gateways from ICN, including Seattle, Detroit and Atlanta, while Korean Air is the largest transpacific carrier.