Troubled Japanese Carrier Had Been Courted By Delta,
Japan Air Line announced Monday
will continue its partnership with oneworld Alliance, following a
long courtship of the troubled Japanese airline by both American,
which is a oneworld member, and Delta, which is partnered with
SkyTeam. JAL joined oneworld in 2007.
JAL filed for bankruptcy protection in January of this
year. The airline was considering a switch to SkyTeam, which some
analysts said offered a better long-term outlook, but decided to
stay with oneworld because it would allow the airline to continue
to use its existing computer booking systems, which, according to a
report in Reuters, the company said was better for
achieving its short-term goals.
After the announcement, American
Airlines Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey said in a statement "We
respect that this was an important decision for Japan Airlines and
the government of Japan, and we believe they have made the right
choice for JAL's many stakeholders, for Japan's national interests
and for consumers traveling between Japan and the United States.
When oneworld executives and I recently met with JAL Chairman Dr.
Kazuo Inamori and President Masaru Onishi and their team, we
reiterated our commitment to support JAL on its path to success. We
stand firmly by that commitment, and look forward to working
closely with JAL to support its restructuring efforts."
American, a oneworld Alliance member, said that support starts
with being a valued and equal partner in oneworld, which offers JAL
superior network presence in the markets that matter most. For
example, American contends that for connections from Japan to the
top markets within the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia, in 16
of those 20 markets oneworld provides JAL with a stronger network
presence than any other alliance. "The quality of oneworld is
unrivaled," Arpey said.
American and JAL say they will now focus on building a joint
venture that can offer JAL significant revenue growth beyond the
stability that oneworld offers today.
"In the coming days, American will work with JAL's new
management team to finalize a joint application for trans-Pacific
antitrust immunity (ATI) that will be filed with the U.S.
Department of Transportation (DOT)," Arpey said. "American remains
confident that the ATI application will meet DOT's pro-consumer and
pro-competition criteria for granting ATI, which will pave the way
for our two airlines to operate a joint venture between U.S. and
For its part, Delta said its Pacific business will remain strong
without the presence of JAL in the SkyTeam alliance. ""Delta is
well positioned as the No. 1 carrier between the U.S. and Asia,"
the company said in a prepared statement. "Customers can continue
to count on Delta for unmatched access to Japan, with nonstop
service between 10 U.S. destinations and Tokyo. With recently
announced plans to invest $1 billion in our product, Delta remains
committed to providing a leading option for travel across the
Pacific. Delta's competitive Pacific presence, along with our
trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France/KLM and leading
position in global markets, will continue to allow Delta and our
SkyTeam partners to meet demand worldwide."