The Korean government says all options regarding Asiana Airlines (OZ, Seoul Incheon) are on the table, even the possibility of nationalisation. The move comes amid worries about Asiana's future given the Hyundai Development Company (HDC)/Mirae Asset Daewoo consortium's decision back in April to indefinitely delay plans to take control of the carrier. On Sunday, HDC requested a three-month window to conduct another due diligence of Asiana Airlines and its budget carriers Air Busan (BX, Busan) and Air Seoul (RS, Seoul Incheon).

Speaking at a press conference this week, the Vice Chairman of Korea's Financial Services Commission, Sohn Byung-doo, was quoted by the Yonhap news agency as saying only that “discussions about [the fate of Asiana Airlines] are being held with related parties taking all possibilities into account. There’s no need to rashly conclude which direction [Asiana Airlines] is heading.”

Sohn was responding to questions from reporters following a meeting in central Seoul to discuss how companies are dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

Analysts told the news agency that weary of an aviation market dominated by Korean Air (KE, Seoul Incheon), the government would likely take control of Asiana only as an interim measure, to allow it to regain its footing before selling it off.

Two of Asiana's largest creditors, The state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) and Export-Import Bank of Korea (Eximbank) could own around 37% of Asiana's shares if the KRW800 billion won (USD669 million) worth of Asiana bonds they own were converted into stock. Last month, the two claimed HDC appeared insincere in its plans for Asiana given it had not responded to calls for face-to-face negotiations.

For its part, HDC has highlighted Asiana's rocketing debt pile as another reason for renegotiations, noting that the dues are "damaging the acquisition value of the carrier." Asiana's debts jumped by KRW4.5 trillion won (USD3.76 billion) from July 2019 to March this year.

Meanwhile, the Busan City Council and its Business Chambers have called on shareholders in Air Busan to rally together and attempt to take control of the LCC should the Asiana HDC/Mirae Asset Daewoo takeover collapse. Asiana owns 55.12% of Air Busan with the remaining 44.72% held by the Busan City Council, local companies, and other minority shareholders.

According to Yonhap, the BCC noted the devastating impact the collapse of Air Busan would have on the local economy in terms of lost trade and jobs, but also highlighted the benefits in owning the airline.