British Airways and Air France-KLM join JAL pursuit? Airlines surge as European markets gain

Don't fear, American Airlines, the cavalry is coming. A report in The Street is suggesting British Airways and Qantas (or more precisely, their bevy of bankers) are considering investing in Japan Airlines, to help American Airlines and oneworld defend its alliance with the beleaguered Japanese airline, citing unnamed sources close to the deal.

British Airways is reportedly "deeply preoccupied" with reports JAL could be considering switching to the SkyTeam Alliance if Delta lobs JAL an offer it cannot refuse. Delta's partner, Air France-KLM, is also reportedly interested in putting the icing on what could be the biggest wedding cake in modern civil aviation.

British Airways' shares rose 4.7% yesterday, while Air France-KLM rose 1.6%.

Meanwhile, BA CEO, Willie Walsh, confirmed the carrier is interested in acquiring bmi and has held talks with Lufthansa. The German carrier has not yet decided what it wants to do with bmi, but has confirmed it is considering a number of different options.

All this talk of deal making is not helping BA's efforts to convince staff of the need to cut costs. The union representing British Airways’ 14,000 cabin crew, BASSA, has also cited improving economic conditions as a reason staff can “hold firm” and resist the carrier’s attempts to secure a two-year wages freeze. BA plans to reduce its workforce by 2,000 employees.

Finnair gain from employee costs reductions

Finnair and the Finnish Flight Attendants' Association SLSY meanwhile reached a fixed-term stabilisation agreement yesterday, which introduces a collective employment agreement and cost cuts for the 15 month period, ending 31-Dec-2010. Investors welcomed the 5% cut to basic salaries and termination of collective incentive bonuses for 2009, as well as a wage freeze up to the expiry of the agreement. However, the agreement contains a pay-back model, which will be determined based the carrier’s financial performance in 2010 and 2011.

Finnair's shares rose 2.2% yesterday.

Aer Lingus executives purchase stock in the carrier

Aer Lingus executives have been purchasing stock in the carrier, but it didn't stop a 1.3% fall in the share price yesterday. The latest, Non-Executive Director Leslie Buckley (appointed in May-2009) purchased 65,000 shares in the carrier yesterday for an investment of EUR50,700. New CEO, Christoph Mueller, recently purchased stock in the carrier for the first time, acquiring 60,000 shares

Elsewhere, Turkish Airlines had a strong day (+5.7), SAS improved (+3.9%) and Lufthansa gained (+2.0%), as European equity markets surged yesterday.

Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 16-Sep-09