Air Canada, Korea's Asiana may bolster alliance

Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:07pm EDT
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Air Canada said on Wednesday it is exploring a closer alliance with South Korea's Asiana Airlines Inc to take advantage of growing business between the two countries.

Canada's largest airline said the companies signed a memorandum of understanding to build on last year's Open Skies agreement aimed at liberalizing air transport between Canada and Korea.

Air Canada and Asiana are already codeshare partners and are members of the Star Alliance.

Air Canada operates flights between Vancouver and Seoul, and codeshares on eight Asiana routes, including Seoul-Ho Chi Minh City, Seoul-Hanoi, Seoul-Busan and Seoul-Phuket.

Meanwhile, Asiana codeshares on seven Air Canada routes, including Vancouver-Seoul and several in Canada.

A more extensive partnership will require approval by competition authorities in both countries, Air Canada said.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Peter Galloway)