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JAL takes neutral stance on alliance issue. New Chairman: carrier to be rebuilt “swiftly”


Kazuo Inamori, Japan Airlines’ (JAL) new Chairman, completed his first day in the job yesterday, pledging to carry out the rehabilitation plan “swiftly and steadfastly”. While Inamori admitted he is a “total outsider” to the airline industry”, he promised to “use my expertise in corporate management and aim to rebuild the carrier with all the employees united”. He added, “when we achieve this goal, I believe that we will be able to turn the carrier around”.

Inamori outlined his key ambition for the future JAL. "I want to contribute to the growth of the Japanese economy," he said, adding that cooperation with All Nippon Airways important in this respect, without disclosing details. See related report: ANA to establish superiority now JAL is caught short; international and low cost operations the way.

A robust international network essential

Chairman Inamori also reaffirmed JAL’s commitment to a robust network, stating, "I cannot imagine what JAL's image would be like without international flights. I was asked to not scrap such operations. I will try to develop both domestic and international services”.

“Neutral stance” on alliance: to be examined "from scratch"

On the issue of which alliance partner JAL would chose, new JAL president Masaru Onishi said that the new management team would take a neutral stance and "examine from scratch alliance talks with American Airlines and Delta".

At the same conference, Onishi said a decision would be made "as soon as possible", but without any other indication of when that might be.

"Instead of being tied to previous discussions, we are currently examining the issue from scratch under the new management," Onishi said.

CAPA understands a decision is now expected on 15-Feb-2010, according to airline sources. Rumours are now emerging that JAL, faced with the massive restructuring task, might maintain the status quo.

Whatever the outcome, CAPA has maintained the importance that such a critical decision be taken by the airline's management - not by politicians or creditors. See related report: JAL-Delta rumours strengthen. But does Washington agree?

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