Delta Air Lines & Korean Air Sign Trans Pacific Join Venture


Delta Air Lines and Korean Air today signed trans pacific Joint Venture (JV) that is still pending subject to regulatory approvals.

Delta and Korean Air JV

This means that airlines would expand their codesharing, share cost and revenues on JV flights and more flights between the hubs of the airlines.

Korean Air Group 4 partner:

Delta and Korean Air JV Group 4

Delta hasn’t had the closest relationship with Korea Air that is demonstrated with Group 4 partnership with its SkyMiles program with airline such as Hawaiian and WestJet. Delta SkyMiles members cannot even earn Medallion qualifying miles or dollars for flights operated by Korean at the moment.

Delta and Korean Air JV Group 4 KE

I would assume that the airline will move to Group 1 partner airline in due course:

Delta and Korean Air JV Group 1

Here’s infographic from Delta about this partnership:

Delta and Korean Air infographic-1

Below is the Delta’s press release:

ATLANTA and SEOUL — Delta Air Lines and Korean Air have reached an agreement to create a leading trans-Pacific joint venture in both scope and service, offering an enhanced and expanded network, industry-leading products and service and a seamless customer experience between the U.S. and Asia. The agreement, signed today, deepens their historic partnership, which spans nearly two decades.

“Together, Delta and Korean Air are building a world-class partnership that will offer more destinations, outstanding airport facilities and an unmatched customer experience on the trans-Pacific,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO.  “By combining the strengths of our two companies, we are building a stronger airline for our employees, customers and investors.”​

“Now is the right time for this JV. The synergies we’re creating will build stronger and more sustainable companies, and this is good for travelers, our companies and our countries,” said Korean Air Chairman, Y.H. Cho.

The agreement is the latest expansion of the longstanding partnership between Delta and Korean Air, which began in 2000 when both carriers became co-founders of the SkyTeam global airline alliance. This agreement follows the airlines’ signing of a memorandum of understanding in March announcing the intention to form a joint venture.

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. The joint venture will augment the two airlines’ capabilities in the trans-Pacific market and provide the necessary scale and scope to compete in this market. 

Delta and Korean Air will lay the groundwork for implementing all aspects of the joint venture, subject to regulatory approvals, including:

  • Expanded codesharing in the trans-Pacific market
  • Joint sales and marketing initiatives in Asia and the United States
  • Colocation at key hubs with seamless passenger and baggage transit experience
  • Enhanced frequent flyer benefits, providing customers of both airlines the ability to earn and redeem miles on Delta’s SkyMiles and Korean Air’s SKYPASS programs
  • Increased belly cargo cooperation across the trans-Pacific

Under the agreement, the airlines will also share costs and revenues on flights within the scope of the joint venture as they work to expand service options for travelers.

In anticipation of the joint venture, Delta recently launched new nonstop service between Atlanta and Seoul. This flight complements Korean Air’s existing service and provides customers in the U.S. with greater access to destinations across Asia. At the same time Korean Air will continue to expand its U.S. – Korea network in summer 2017 with the introduction of a third roundtrip flight between Los Angeles and Seoul, as well as a second flight between San Francisco and Seoul.

For further information about Delta Air Lines or Korean Air log onto or


Seoul’s Incheon airport is not the most convenient for transit and definitely not the most pleasant for a short stopover compared to airports/cities such as Hong Kong or Singapore where you can get to the city itself within 30 minutes or so.

This is good news for those that tend to fly on Korean and would like to credit the flights to Delta’s program. I would assume that it moves to Group 1 partner airline within few days now that the JV agreement has been signed.

I would, however, credit the Korean flights to Alaska’s Mileage Plan for superior earnings. Let’s see if that partnership lasts this Korean-Delta JV.

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