American Airlines and US private equity group Texas Pacific Group have launched a bid for a strategic equity stake in and partnership with Japan Air Lines as part of a wider play by other oneworld airlines – including Qantas – to assist the struggling carrier and fend off a possible bid from Skyteam carrier Delta Air Lines.
AA and TPG have offered to invest US$1.1bn (A$1.2bn) in funds for JAL, subject to approval from the Japanese government, and the two carriers would establish a joint venture to operate joint services between Japan and the United States. In addition, a number of other oneworld carriers would work with JAL to optimise their services to and from Japan, while the alliance has also announced that Qantas is willing to assist the airline to set up a leisure airline, drawing on its experience with setting up Jetstar.
“The total alliance proposition developed by American Airlines, as JAL’s biggest partner, our fellow members of oneworld and our financial partners TPG is very clearly vastly superior in every aspect to anything anyone else is offering,” said AA CEO and chairman Gerard Arpey, who is also the chairman of the oneworld governing board.
Delta has also been involved in talks with JAL about a possible investment and alliance, and is expected to launch its competing bid in coming weeks.