15-Feb-2010 8:23 AM

JAL and American Airlines apply to the US DoT for antitrust immunity

American Airlines (AA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) filed (13-Feb-2010) an application with the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for antitrust immunity to forge a closer relationship and implement a Joint Business Agreement (JBA) governing the operation of services between North America and Asia. The airlines also will notify Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) of the transaction. Under an immunised JBA, JAL and AA will, cooperate commercially on flight operations while continuing to operate as separate legal entities. The airlines will coordinate fares, services and schedules and will "find opportunities to lower costs and have greater ability to invest in products, services and fleets". The JBA will be "metal neutral" (ie the airlines will share revenue on all JBA flights).  [more - American Airlines and Japan Airlines]

oneworld welcomed (12-Feb-2010) the filing, with oneworld Managing Partner, John McCulloch, commenting, "this is a very significant step by oneworld member airlines to deepen cooperation with Japan Airlines since it reaffirmed its membership of the alliance earlier this week". [more - Oneworld]

All Nippon Airways has applied for antitrust immunity with US authorities with Star Alliance airlines, United Airlines and Continental Airlines.

JAL Group: "With immunity to enter a JBA, Japan Airlines and American Airlines will be able to cooperate more tightly in raising the quality of our services and thus encourage healthy competition in this promising region for the industry, Furthermore, not only will both carriers be able to improve operational efficiency but most importantly, our valued customers will receive greater benefits and convenience which we hope will place us in a position to always be the airlines of their choice," Masaru Onishi, COO and President. Source: Company Statement, 13-Feb-2010.  

American Airlines: "An immunised JBA will benefit the public, offer new competition in the fast-growing Asian aviation marketplace and strengthen the relationship between American and Japan Airlines, which will support JAL's successful restructuring. It will improve customer choice by giving the oneworld Alliance, of which American and JAL are key members, strong hub operations at Tokyo, thus allowing more vibrant competition with other global alliances in northeast Asia and beyond," Gerard Arpey, Chairman and CEO. Source: Company Statement, 13-Feb-2010.

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