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British Airways May Help JAL Stay Airborne

September 21, 2009 By: Jena Tesse Fox

The Times is reporting that British Airways has joined American Airlines and Qantas to try and save Japan Airlines from bankruptcy.

The move follows news that Delta Airlines was also looking to inject cash into the ailing carrier— and, by doing so, force it to exit the Oneworld Alliance, of which BA is a member.

JAL announced last week it would cut its workforce by 14 percent, or 6,800 employees, after reporting its biggest quarterly loss of almost $1 billion in the three months to the end of June.

Other offers to buy stakes in JAL are believed to have come from Korean Airlines and Air France-KLM, according to the report.

It is estimated JAL needs at least $2.5 billion to help it stay afloat just until the end of this year. A decision is expected next month.

The BA offer is thought to involve debt guarantees, consulting services and restructuring advice, and more code-sharing deals, but not cash.

American, by contrast, is thought to be considering investing $300 million, which would make it JAL’s largest shareholder. Oneworld is desperate not to lose the one member of the alliance that flies to the  Far East. Delta, meanwhile, is keen to expand Skyteam, the alliance which it heads, into Asia. According to sources, the Delta bid is the one favoured by the Japanese government.

Read the Times story here.

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