Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
“Another love so true
That once turned all my gray skies blue
But you disappeared
Now my eyes are filled with tears” K. Sakamoto
Japan Airlines appears set to enter the hangar of court protection with $16 billion in debt, equal to a one-way Tokyo-Sapporo ticket for every citizen. The move would not be the most momentous for Japan or for a global carrier in the age of deregulation, but it would be one of the most well-telegraphed.
JAL shares were toxic and untraded early on Tuesday, after a state-backed fund in charge of restructuring said it was leaning towards delisting after a bankruptcy. A source at the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp of Japan told Reuters it intends to hold shareholders accountable, but with losses of over 45 percent since Friday and over 80 percent since Jan. 5 last year, many would contend they’ve already felt the carrier’s pain.
The government will soon explain to 35 nations JAL’s flight plan.
Asia’s largest airline by revenue has convinced major banks to sign off on bankruptcy, but eyes remain on its alliance plans and international air routes. Media reports say JAL will likely receive no capital injection from any carrier or alliance, but may launch new ties with Delta Air Lines’ SkyTeam alliance, a possible stiff-arm to its current alliance as American Airlines’ officials circled in Tokyo with bigger offers on Tuesday.
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.