Just before the new year rolled in, South Korea’s Jeju Air announced it postponed the signing of a deal to acquire a majority stake in competitor Eastar Jet.

In a report by the Yonhap News Agency, Jeju Air’s parent company the AK Holdings cited the need for the company to do diligence to acquire the 51% stake in Eastar Jet. The stake has been reported to be worth around KRW 69.5 Billion (USD $58.3 Million).

“The above schedule is subject to change during due diligence and progress, and will be disclosed without delay when this contract is concluded or changes occur,” the airline said in a stock exchange disclosure.

First announced in mid-December, the deal would be the first major move of consolidation within the highly competitive air travel market in South Korea which is home to 6 active budget carriers along with legacy carriers Korean Air and Asiana.

Facing financial struggles in 2019, Eastar Jet has seen instances of not paying staff during the second half of the year and weak travel demand to/from Japan – one of its major markets.

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