Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
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.