22-Jan-2010 11:20 AM

American to "object vigorously" if JAL partners with Delta; airports to suffer from JAL restructure

Japan Airlines (JAL), the Japan Government and related parties reported the following developments, following the carrier’s bankruptcy filing on 19-Jan-2010:

  • International partners: American Airlines CEO, Gerard Arpey, stated the carrier would “object vigorously” and would not “just stand by and watch” if JAL partners with Delta Air Lines and moves to the SkyTeam Alliance (Kyodo,  20-Jan-2010). American Airlines has repeatedly argued that a JAL-Delta partnership would not be granted antitrust immunity by US authorities as the carriers would control over 60% of the US-Japan market;
  • Aviation industry review: Japan’s Transport Minister, Seiji Maehara, reiterated the need to review the structure of the entire aviation industry, stating, "when JAL is out of the ETIC's hands, will it really be possible for Japan to maintain the two-carrier structure?. This is something we need to find out about and make a decision within three years" (Asahi Shimbun, 21-Jan-2010);
  • Airports: JAL’s route restructure will potential affect a significant number of airports in Japan, with 25 of the 98 airports in Japan currently only being served by JAL (The Yomiuri Shimbun, 22-Jan-2010);
  • All Nippon Airways (ANA) President Shinichiro Ito, has requested the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry to avoid giving JAL a competitive advantage by providing it with excessive government assistance during its rehabilitation (The Yomiuri Shimbun, 22-Jan-2010). The Ministry stated “there’s no way we'll treat the airlines differently";
  • Effect on financial institutions/insurance companies: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services stated that its ratings on Japan's financial institutions and insurance companies "would be unaffected by the debt forgiveness requested by JAL, as part of its bankruptcy procedures" (Insurance Journal, 21-Jan-2010).

American Airlines: ''We would move aggressively to block any form of cooperation between the dominant carriers in the region,'' Gerald Arpey, CEO. Source: Kyodo, 20-Jan-2010.

American Airlines: ''We would evaluate other carriers in the region, those that are not represented by alliances and those that are,” Tom Horton, CFO. Source: Kyodo, 20-Jan-2010.

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