13-Nov-2009 11:10 AM

Delta, American vie for position with JAL; Delta: JAL "a tremendous" company

Japan Government and Japan Airlines (JAL) announced the following developments related to the carrier’s restructuring efforts and financial position:

  • Pension benefits: JAL President, Haruka Nishimatsu, met with representatives of a group of company retirees to seek approval to enact cuts in pension benefits (Kyodo News/Mainichi Japan, 13-Nov-2009). JAL hopes to obtain the necessary two-thirds consent by year-end for the reductions; this is a prerequisite for JAL to receive a broader government bailout. Separately, Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister, Seiji Maehara, stated the Japanese Government would  “move ahead with special measures, including possible legislation, in order to prevent taxpayers' money from being used for payments of pensions to JAL retirees" (Mainichi Japan, 12-Nov-2009).
  • Executive News: Mr Maehara stated he would not call for the early resignation of the president, saying, "JAL is facing a crucial turning point right now, so I insist that Nishimatsu grits his teeth and carries out his duties until the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp (ETIC) finalises the bailout plan” (Mainichi Japan, 12-Nov-2009);
  • International partners: Delta Air Lines CEO, Richard Anderson, stated it considers JAL a “tremendous” company and a good addition to the SkyTeam alliance (Bloomberg, 12-Nov-2009). Virgin Atlantic, as noted above, charged  American Airlines with “hypocrisy”. 
  • Bridging Loans: JAL reportedly plans to file an application with the Government today for bridge loans to remain effective in the coming months (Kyodo News, 13-Nov-2009). The airline is reportedly expected to receive the loans from the state-owned Development Bank of Japan as it awaits a decision for long-term financial aid from a state-backed corporate turnaround body.

Delta Air Lines: “We have a tremendous amount of respect for them. We will always look for opportunities with our SkyTeam partners to further improve offerings for customers, strengthen our business and make our partners successful.. Japan Air is a tremendous airline with a very strong culture and a strong core business… We have demonstrated the ability with our partners to develop very successful alliances,” Richard Anderson, CEO. Source: Bloomberg, 12-Nov-2009.

Japan Government: ‘‘The size (of the corporate pensions) is big so how we can modify them will greatly impact our business plans,’’ Haruka Nishimatsu, President. Source: Kyodo News, 13-Nov-2009.

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