Tuesday, September 15, 2009

British Airways May Join JAL Pursuit
09/15/09 - 03:13 PM EDT

TheStreet) -- As a strongly motivated AMR(AMR Quote) battles to ensure its continued partnership with Japan Air Lines, other partners in the Oneworld alliance are also considering investment in JAL.

Both British Airways and the Australian carrier Qantas are potential investors, said a person who is familiar with the negotiations between AMR's American Airlines and JAL.

In particular,
British Airways is "deeply preoccupied" that JAL could partner with the SkyTeam alliance, which includes its rival AirFrance as well as Delta(DAL Quote), the person said, noting, "All of the members of Oneworld, led by American, are profoundly interested in intensifying the relationship with JAL.

"American is extraordinarily motivated to maintain a successful partnership with JAL that is more than 10 years old, to keep them in Oneworld and to move forward with more intensive joint operations," the person said. "American will always make an offer superior to whatever Delta wants to do." A British
Airways spokeswoman declined to comment and a Qantas spokesperson was not immediately available.

Financially troubled JAL is seeking to restructure and to raise funding from banks,
investment funds and others including airlines. It wants about $300 million to $500 million from an airline partner or partners, as a share of the $2.7 billion it reportedly needs. The airline investment is viewed as an industry vote of confidence that would inspire other investors to participate.
JAL has the largest hub at Tokyo Narita, Asia's key airport because of its importance to Japan and its web of connections throughout the continent.

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