Qantas has denied that it is working on an investment proposal with fellow oneworld carriers American Airlines and British Airways to take a stake in Japan Air Lines, which has also been linked to Skyteam alliance carrier Delta Air Lines.
Media reports claim that executives from Qantas, American and BA met with JAL executives last week to discuss a possible joint offer to rescue the loss making Japanese airline. However, Qantas’s head of government and corporate affairs David Epstein denied that Qantas had been involved in any merger or acquisition discussions with JAL.
“We have keen interest in both the future of JAL and any discussions American Airlines may be having with JAL,” he told The Australian newspaper. “But Qantas is not involved in any of the formal negotiations taking place between any parties nor are we engaged in any M&A (merger and acquisition) or consolidations discussions with any other airline.”
JAL has been a longtime partner with Qantas, with both carriers codesharing on each other’s services between Australia and Japan.
It was revealed last week that JAL had been involved in discussions with Delta and American on a possible investment and strategic alliance. JAL has suffered from the decline in business travel on long haul routes, with the carrier recently accessing a government secured loan facility, while the new Democratic government has said that it will not allow JAL to fail.
Delta and American’s interest in JAL has come at a time when it is expected that the US and Japan are expected to start negotiations on a possible open skies agreement between the two nations. For its part, Delta operates a network from Tokyo’s Narita Airport to routes within Asia which it inherited from its takeover of Northwest Airlines in 2007.