Japan Airlines' (JAL) decision to continue and expand its relationship with American Airlines and the oneworld Alliance was a major win for AA against competing bids by Delta Air Lines. “We respect that 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 traveling between Japan and the United States," said Gerard Arpey, American's chairman and CEO.
Arpey said American will work with JAL's new management team to finalize a joint application for transpacific antitrust immunity (ATI) that will be filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). "American remains confident that the ATI application will meet DOT's pro-consumer and pro-competition criteria for granting ATI, which will pave the way for our two airlines to operate a joint venture between U.S. and Japan," the company said in a statement.
With immunity, both carriers may cooperate more closely and generate new revenue while providing better travel choices for customers. “That support starts with being a valued and equal partner in oneworld, a collection of 11 of the finest airline brands in the world that offers JAL superior network presence in the markets that matter most,” Arpey said. "American and all its oneworld partners, and in particular British Airways and Qantas, 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." The carriers previously outlined plans to deliver to JAL commercial benefits valued at approximately $2 billion in ongoing and incremental revenue over three years.
oneworld brings together American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malev Hungarian Airlines, Mexicana, Qantas and Royal Jordanian, and around 20 affiliates including American Eagle, Dragonair, LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru. Russia's S7 Airlines will join the alliance in 2010.
JAL’s Group Chief Operating Officer and president, Masaru Onishi said: “We have analyzed this issue in great detail, and we are excited at the prospects in terms of the convenience and benefits for our customers. We also firmly believe that the advantages of this development with American Airlines can strongly support JAL at a time when we are striving towards the revival of our business, which we are determined to achieve. We certainly look forward to a deeper, more mutually-beneficial relationship with our long-time partner.”