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from Raw Japan:

Highway to the stranger zone

Not so long ago, once proud Japan Airlines had few friends besides the government, which threw it a $1.1 billion bone in the form of emergency support in June to keep the national flag carrier in the pink, if not the black, as Asia's largest airline by revenues continued to bleed money -- about $1 billion in the last quarter -- and painfully restructure.

But in a weekend, JAL has suddenly become the belle of the Pacific ball, with both Delta and American Airlines possibly looking at minor stake acquisitions worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and public broadcaster NHK reporting that it is also eyeing a capital injection from Air France-KLM, all likely dictated by a state-supervised restructuring plan due by month's that may carry another plea for government aid.

Delta, in the competing "Skyteam" alliance, would reportedly inject up to $550 million and would want international code-sharing, while a pact with "Oneworld" alliance peer AA would be a minority stake for revenue-sharing and other business ties, dependent on U.S.-Japan "open skies" talks.

Potential carrier ties almost certainly could not involve all, while no direct links have so far mentioned Japan's No.2, All Nippon Airways, although tabloid reports when JAL last landed on this blog tarmac in January predicted a possible merger.  The industry may lose $9 billion this year and JAL a sizable chunk, but apparently things are not quite bad enough to put the two in the same hangar just yet.

from DealZone:

Lufthansa flies into Ryanair’s sights

You’ve got to admit that when Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary (left) told journalists in London on Tuesday that the low-cost airliner was studying a bid to buy Germany’s flag carrier Lufthansa, he must have meant it as a joke.

For Ryanair to acquire Lufthansa is a bit like taking ice to the North Pole: a bit far-fetched now, but certainly plausible in the near future. “We are having a serious look at Lufthansa. We could almost buy it for cash,” O’Leary confidently told the media.

from From Reuters.com:

Graphic: Air France disappearance

from Tales from the Trail:

The First Draft: End of an era for GM

AUTOS/Even though it was expected, it was still a jolt: GM declared bankruptcy this morning, the third-largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history and the biggest ever in U.S. manufacturing.

Unthinkable a decade ago, now General Motors is yet another casualty of the cratered U.S. economy, with taxpayers putting up $30 billion for a 60 percent stake in the company. The GM filing followed just hours after a bankruptcy judge approved the sale of virtually all of automaker Chrysler's assets to a group led by Italy's Fiat SpA.

from Summit Notebook:

Audio – Air France-KLM CEO sees some unfriendly skies ahead

The state of the airline industry and travel overall is not poised for a rapid takeoff in 2009 and looks like it will remain in rough shape until next year, said Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, chief executive of Air France-KLM, on Monday at the Reuters Travel and Leisure Summit.

The head of Europe's largest airline, who became CEO in January, said he was unsure when things would turn around, but warned that both passenger and cargo metrics were down for the airline.

from DealZone:

European airlines merging, U.S. talks to take off next?

airfrance-alitaliaEuropean airline mergers, long expected, are now taking wing.

Air France-KLM in January bought a 25-percent stake in Alitalia after a failed attempt at buying the entire carrier last year. The airline fought it out with Lufthansa, which lost the battle but didn't sit around moping. It quickly launched Lufthansa Italia, which took its maiden flight a few days ago.

Ryanair, Europe's largest discount airline, has withdrawn its bid for Aer Lingus after the irish government rejected the $1 billion deal. Ryanair is now expected to look for alternative targets.

from Italian elections:

Alitalia, Manzoni perde quota

alitalia2.JPG

La trattativa con Air France è in terapia intensiva e la cordata italiana per acquistare Alitalia promessa da Silvio Berlusconi ancora non c'è. Solo Orlando Corradi, presidente di Mondo Tv, ha risposto all'appello del Cavaliere con una fiche di 2 milioni di euro. Ancora un po' poco per rilevare un'azienda che 2 milioni li perde quasi in un giorno.

Sembrerebbe dunque confermato quanto scritto da Alessandro Manzoni: "Tutti i provvedimenti di questo mondo, per quanto siano gagliardi, non hanno virtù di diminuire il bisogno di cibo, nè di far venire derrate fuori di stagione". La citazione è stata usata mercoledì dal ministro dell'Economia Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa in un'audizione parlamentare dedicata ad Alitalia per smontare l'idea di una politica onnipotente che può piegare ai suoi disegni leggi e regole dell'economia.

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