Despite recent reports that it had chosen an alliance with Delta Air Lines, Japan Air Lines has confirmed that it will stay within the oneworld alliance and will enter into a joint venture with American Airlines as part of its massive restructuring.
“We respect this was an important decision for Japan Airlines and the government of Japan, and we believe they have made the right choice for JAL’s many stakeholders, for Japan’s national interests and for consumers,” said oneworld governing board chairman, American Airlines chairman and chief executive Gerard Arpey. “American and its oneworld partners look forward to working with JAL to create an even stronger partnership through commercial enhancements and assistance that can generate important new revenue to JAL and support its successful restructuring.”
A key part of the plan is greater cooperation between JAL and other oneworld alliance partners British Airways, Finnair and American Airlines which would allow the Japanese carrier to generate stronger revenues. As a result, JAL and American have announced that they plan to seek antitrust immunity from competition authorities to allow them to enter into a business joint venture on routes to the US. However, it is not known if an offer to invest up to US$1.4bn (A$1.6bn) in the bankrupt carrier from American Airlines and private equity firm TPG will be taken up, with recent indications that the airline may not require it as part of its two year turnaround plan.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce welcomed the announcement, saying that the carrier was looking forward to working with the new management team at JAL. Qantas has previously offered JAL assistance to establish its own low cost carrier, but so far there has been no indication if JAL will take up the offer.