JAL centre of investment tug of war

JAPANESE Airlines (JAL) is at the centre of negotiations for airlines wanting to invest in the financially troubled carrier.

At the forefront is American Airlines (AA) and Delta. Both are keen to involve themselves with JAL as a partnership would give either one access, via code sharing, to JAL’s valuable trans-pacific and Asian routes.

AA is apparently eager to set up a joint venture with JAL, while Delta wants to invest about US$300 million in the carrier, taking Delta’s stake up to 11.2 per cent and additionally giving it access to Haneda Airport.

AA refused to comment on the negotiations, only confirming they were happening. A spokesman AA’s parent company, AMR, Roger Frizzell, said, “We are in discussions at the senior executive level in Japan with JAL.”

A Delta win would seriously hinder AA’s attempts at setting up an Asian hub but would also mean SkyTeam members losing JAL and its code-sharing agreements to Oneworld, of which Delta is a member.

JAL itself apparently prefers finalising a deal with AA and staying with SkyTeam. However, by receiving $1 billion in government funds, the government has a strong say in which the carrier should go with and it prefers the more financially solvent Delta.

For the full story, see the next issue of Air Cargo News, dated 2 October

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