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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Inamori: I will rebuild both domestic and international services and no decision on alliance yet (Update 3)

Kazuo Inamori held his inaugural press conference today at Tokyo. He talked about how he is going to rebuild Japan Airlines and of course the one question that concerns most people-whether JAL will choose AA or DL (sorry you will be disappointed by his answer to this question).

Alliance decision by end of February?

It's February 1 in Tokyo right now, which means it's the first day of work for Dr. Inamori as CEO of Japan Airlines and Onishi as COO. According to Nikkei.com, Inamori and Onishi will hold an afternoon meeting with all department heads to talk about their vision for JAL. Afterwards they will hold a press conference about JAL's reconstruction policies (does it mean route cuts will finally be announced?). However, Nikkei also reports the plan is to make the alliance decision by end of February. So the bidding war isn't over yet and there still a month to go. But why is it taking so long? Come on, make up your mind now and apply for ATI ASAP! You are already a month behind ANA's ATI application :(

November 2009 Trip Report Part V - Sky Gallery

Japan Airlines (JAL) Business class Sky Gallery 777-300ER (773) on JL061
JAL Sky Gallery on 777-300ER
Other than the new JAL Shell Flat Neo seats, the Sky Gallery is one of the new features that I have been looking forward to most before my trip. You probably have heard it by now, the Sky Gallery is last year's Good Design Award winner. Basically it's a self-service bar with a photo exhibition panel in Japan Airlines' latest business class cabin.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

New board but not new blood

As part of the restructuring, Japan Airlines will replace its board of directors. Majority of the previous board will step down on February 8 2010 and JAL announced the new board members on Friday. Even though it's a new board, there isn't really any new blood unless you count Dr. Inamori!

Friday, January 29, 2010

JAL and NYK cargo merger talks stall

Nikkei reports that Japan Airlines and NYK's cargo operations (NCA) merger talks hit a major obstacle. This is mainly due to ETIC wants to sell off JAL's cargo unit.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lost in translation


I have just read the Chinese version of the notice Japan Airlines put up on their site recently (the one with the title of "To JAL customers worldwide: Let us put your mind at ease"). There are some discrepancies in the point regarding JAL Mileage Bank program in the Chinese and English versions.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rumor: JAL decided to dump AA for DL

Once again, there's a rumor floating around that Japan Airlines has made up its mind on the alliance issue. This time the rumor is from The Manichi Daily News. According to the report JAL will announce the new partner on Inamori's first day of work on Monday.

ANA's "evil plan" revealed

ANA has released its corporate plan for fiscal year 2010, aka their evil plan of how to get stronger when Japan Airlines is "sick" LOL. There are plenty of expansions, especially 11.2% increase in capacity of its international flights. And as expected ANA increases frequencies of some of the routes suspended by JAL.

Incident: JL2008 emergency landing

There was an incident on Japan Airlines flight 2008 from Naha to Kansai on January 26 2010. It was a 777-300 aircraft with 322 people on board. Problems were found on the left engine shortly after takeoff. ATC reported seeing possible fire on the left engine. The plane landed safely 15 minutes after takeoff and no one was injured. The flight was delayed by 3 hours 20 minutes as a result.

There is only one configuration, W23, used on JAL 777-300 aircrafts. There are total of 500 seats (78J 422Y). So the flight load on this flight is around 61% (the 322 number includes flight crew), which is not great but still better than having only 33 people on board on a 767-300ER LOL

Source: Yomiuri Online via Yahoo

JAL Mileage Bank miles will soon be easier to earn? Really!?!?

Japan Airlines does not give out specific, but easier to earn miles is one of the points in the latest notice on JAL American Region website. The title of the notice is "To JAL customers worldwide: Let us put your mind at ease". The notice is mainly to assure customers they don't have to worry about anything and should continue to fly on JAL. So it's very similar to previous notices.

JAL to expand Premium Economy service to Jakarta and Delhi

Japan Airlines announced that they will expand the Premium Economy service to the Jakarta (CGK) and Delhi (DEL) routes. This is something JAL should have done long time ago considered they are currently giving those Sky Shell seats (the seats in the PY cabin) out for free! Ticket sales start from January 28 2010.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

JAL new COO announced

Despite rumor saying Kazuo Inamori wants a different COO after meeting Masaru Onishi, Japan Airlines announced today that Onishi will be the next JAL President of JAL Corporation and JAL International, and also the COO of JAL Corporation. Satoru Tanaka will also be promoted to be the Deputy of Onishi, i.e. Executive Vice President of JAL Corporation and JAL International. Both of them will assume their new roles together with Inamori on February 1 2010. You can find the resumes of both Onishi and Tanaka from JAL Press Release (in Japanese). Both of them are JAL veterans who entered JAL at the same time and worked their way up from the bottom. Congratulations to both of them! Hopefully JAL is in good hands now :)

Update: Here is the English version of the Press Release. Asahi.com has a picture of Onishi.

DOT: No guarantee for JAL ATI

Nikkei.com reports today that the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has informed japanese Civil Aviation Bureau that there is no guarantee that they will approve Japan Airlines' antitrust immunity. DOT has to completely review JAL's application before making any decision.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Donate your JMB miles for Haiti relief

Japan Airlines has started a campaign for Haiti earthquake relief. The "Haiti Earthquake Children Support - Miles for UNICEF" will run from January 26 - February 28 2010. JAL Mileage Bank members can donate their miles to support the campaign. Miles are donated in the units of 10,000 and for each mile, JAL will donate 1 yen to UNICEF who will use the money to help children of Haiti. JMB Japan members can login to JAL website (www.jal.co.jp) while members from other regions should contact their local JMB centers. This is a great and meaningful way to spend your expiring miles. Of course, you can always donate the UNICEF directly.

Source: JAL Press Release

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sky Gallery wins Good Design Award

Japan Airlines has once again won the prestigious Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design. The 2009 award goes to the Sky Gallery of JAL's latest international business class cabin. JAL has won this award two years in a row. Last year JAL won the same award for the design of chopsticks used in JAL First class. Congratulations!

Source: JAL Press Release

JAL birthday upgrade and sale

JAL brings back Birthday discount and upgrade
JAL brings back Birthday discount and upgrade. Image by Japan Airlines.

The popular birthday sale for domestic tickets is back! Japan Airlines will bring back this once popular birthday promotion from April 1 2010. On top of that, JAL is running a birthday upgrade to domestic Class J promotion for JMB Japan members.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

ANA: We need to get stronger when JAL are sick!

ANA's board member and executive vice president of alliances and international affairs, Keisuke Okada, revealed their master evil plan of how to take advantage of Japan Airlines' bankruptcy filing during an interview with The Wall Street Journal. He saw great business opportunity to expand its international network while JAL is shrinking theirs. He even gave out some of the routes that they are looking at!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Inamori is already bringing business to JAL :)

Even Dr. Kazuo Inamori isn't going to officially join Japan Airlines until February 1 2010, he is already bringing business to JAL :) According to the Financial Times, the chairman of Kyocera, Makoto Kawamura, has encouraged his staff on Thursday morning to fly on JAL as a moral support for their honorary chairman! And the company said this is just a "request" and is "not binding". But we all know how Japanese do their business :) If not, just read the FT article to find out what Japanese companies do during the downtime. Let's see how many moral support from different companies Inamori can get :P

JAL to axe 15,000 staff by March 2011

According to the restructuring plan, Japan Airlines will cut around 15,700 jobs by March 2013 and 3,000 of these will be through early retirement. According to Kyodo News, 15,000 of these will be cut by March 2011! So JAL will carry out 95.5% of the cut within a year!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

ANA wants to prevent future bailouts for JAL!

That's why I called you the dark side, ANA! You are as evil as....I am! Their CEO has asked the Japanese government to adopt some rules to prevent a company (aka Japan Airlines) to receive government aid for 10 years after it has received aid!

AA: We will "object vigorously" if JAL tie up with Delta

During the American Airlines quarterly earning conference call, AA CEO Gerard Arpey said they will "object vigorously" for any kind of cooperation between Japan Airlines and Delta. He also warned JAL that it would be unwise for them to switch to Delta as their US partner! To me, it sounds like someone is desperate :P

November 2009 Trip Report Part IV - Meals on JL061

Trip report on Japan Airlines (JAL) flight JL061: JA738J is used to operate today's flight
JA738J is used to operate today's flight

The 777-300ER used on my flight is JA738J, which is the first of the 777-300ER with JAL Suites delivered to Japan Airlines on June 23 2008. So the plane is still relatively new. And JAL switched to 777-300ER on LAX-NRT route 10 days before my flight. So finally they have a fixed configuration used on this route! And at check in, the agent actually showed me a print out of the seat map and told me where my seat is (and I actually pointed at my seat before she did LOL). Back to the meal. This time I still stick with the Japanese menu and only found out later on my next trip that the Western option tastes much much much better!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Changes to JMB Program

Japan Airlines will make changes to accumulation rate and classes eligible for upgrade awards in the JAL Mileage Bank program. These changes are effective from April 1 2010.

ETIC notice of decision to support to JAL

ETIC has finally uploaded the English version of the Notice of Decision to Support to Japan Airlines. It is a looooooong document with attachments outlining the reasons behind ETIC's decision to support JAL, why JAL is at this financial mess and an outline of the support measures. Oh it also lists the opinions of different ministers which I found interesting...especially when I see the Finance Minister (also the Deputy Prime Minister) has "no particular opinion". Isn't he the one who wants JAL to hand over its international network to ANA? I will summarize it later but if you don't want to/can't wait for me, it's only 13 pages and you probably have read about the same thing over and over on all those JAL reports anyways :P

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

JAL to withdraw from Kobe Airport

According to The Sankei Shimbun, Japan Airlines will withdraw from Kobe Airport from may 2010. That means we now know 4 out of 17 domestic routes being axed: Kobe-Chitose, Kobe-Haneda, Kobe-Naha, and Kobe-Ishigaki. Capacity reduction at Kansai is also expected but the report doesn't mention specific routes.

JAL filed Chapter 15 proceeding in New York (Updated)

Japan Airlines has filed for Chapter 15 proceeding in New York court after filing for bankruptcy in Japan. According to Reuters, "Chapter 15 of U.S. bankruptcy laws deals with cases involving more than one country and allows U.S. courts to recognize the actions of insolvency proceedings in foreign countries." I guess this is the expected results. JAL probably has to file this type of protection in other countries too.

Update: JAL has added a link to the court filing. Here is the link to all the court documents. The first hearing is at 16:00 Eastern Time today (Jan 19 2010).

Japan Transport Minister wonder if they need both JAL and ANA

Japan Transport Minister Seiji Maehara has something new to say once again. This time he said he wonders if Japan needs both Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways according to Nikkei.

"Just like All Nippon Airways Co. (9202), JAL is basically a private business," Maehara said. "We must think long and hard about whether Japan needs two major carriers, given intensifying global competition in this industry.

I don't trust a word from this politician mouth. He first said bankruptcy is NOT an option for JAL and then retracted that statement. We all know how it turns out now. But regarding this comment, does it mean they might eventually merge JAL and ANA's international operations? Say if they fail to turnover JAL in three years? I hope not. If Taiwan and Korea can have two airlines, why not Japan?

Incident: Parts fell off from wing on JL009 from Chicago to Narita

When it rains, it pours. Japan Airlines flight 009 from Chicago to Narita has a minor incident today. After JL009 landed at NRT today, some parts of the wing fell off and the runway has to be closed as a result. The runway has already reopened after the parts were found. The aircraft is a 777-300ER. JAL uses its latest 777-300ERs on this route and the oldest one is 1.5 years one. And they are falling apart already!?

Source: TBS news (in Japanese with video)

JAL: We're here to stay!



Japan Airlines has updated its website with a new banner saying "JAL. We're here to stay". It links to a page explaining to passengers that JAL will remain operational even after bankruptcy filing. It assure reservation and ticketing remains fully operational. JMB program remain effective. Other JAL companies, e.g. JALCard, JALPAK, JAL Tours, etc will operate as normal. Here is the link to the page in English and Japanese. And US site has added a link to page with more detailed information.

JAL American Region Main Page:

JAL issued statement regarding restructuring

Japan Airlines has issued a statement regarding its restructuring. Below are the highlights:

New JAL management

Japan Airlines has issued a press release (in Japanese) announcing management changes during its restructuring. As expected, CEO Haruka Nishimatsu and a couple of executives will resign. Kazuo Inamori will be the next JAL CEO from February 1 2010. The Managing Executive Officer, Masato Uehara will be the JAL's acting COO effective immediately. For details of the management changes, you can refer to JAL Press Release (in Japanese) By the way, everyone is hitting JAL Press Release site at the moment and it is experiencing some outage (the server has exceeded its capacity). So if you can't read the link, I would suggest try later (keep refreshing will just make the matter worse :).

Latest JAL development

Here are the latest from Nikkei.com

  1. Suspend 14 international and 17 domestic routes.
  2. CEO Nishimatsu steps down.
  3. JAL liabilities reaches 2.322 trillion yen.
  4. Government will secure enough funding for JAL to ensure normal flight operations.
  5. ETIC will bail out JAL
  6. JAL files for bankruptcy.
  7. JAL stocks will be delisted from Tokyo Stock Exchange on February 20 2010.
  8. JAL and ETIC will hold press conference at 19:30 Japan Time. 
  9. ETIC press release can be found here (in Japanese)

ETIC: JAL has filed for bankruptcy

According to ETIC, Japan Airlines has filed for court-led restructuring, i.e. bankruptcy protection, with the Tokyo District Court. It will restructure JAL with capital injection and workforce and routes reductions.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's OFFICIAL. JAL will file for bankruptcy

According to NHK World (with video), Japan Airlines has decided to file for bankruptcy protection in today's special board meeting. JAL will be the 4th largest bankruptcy in Japan history. JAL will file for bankruptcy at 17:00 Japan Time. More info on this later tonight when Japan Transport Minister Seiji Maehara hold a news conference at 17:45 Japan Time.

Rumor: JAL to file for bankruptcy at 0800GMT today

According to The Wall Street Journal, Japan Airlines will file for banlruptcy at the Tokyo District Court at 0800 GMT Tuesday. Then it will hold a briefing on the restructuring plan at 1030 GMT. The new CEO Kazuo Inamori will take over the job as the new JAL chairman and CEO on February 1 2010. And on top of the staff and pension cuts, 17 international and 17 domestic unprofitable routes will be suspended.

So there are a few hours left...for now i will wait patiently and enjoy the Kameda rice crackers (the one served on JAL flights) with JAL Ginza coffee. Hopefully the coffee is more powerful than the cold medicine and will keep me awake (yes I get sick on the day JAL file for bankruptcy or should I say I get sick because of this LOL)

Rumor: Former vice-chairman at Koycera may join JAL with Inamori

According to Nikkei.com, Naoyuki Morita, a former vice-chairman at Kyocera, may join Japan Airlines on February 1 2010. Morita will take a senior management position at JAL. So does this mean Morita will be the new JAL COO? I am not sure if Morita has the knowledge to oversees JAL's daily operation. It's risky enough to find an outsider to be a CEO who will only work half time. Hopefully we will find out more about this after the ETIC press conference today.

Source: Nikkei via Bloomberg

Air France-KLM joins JAL bidding war and doubles Skyteam's offer

Air France-KLM confirms report from Dutch daily De Telegraaf that they are in talks with Japan Airlines and Delta!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

More than half of Haneda new slots will be given to Asian flights

According to Nikkei Net, more than half of the newly added slots for international flights operated by foreign airlines at Haneda will be given to Asian flights. This aims to strengthen Japan's tie to Asia where future growth is expected. So far the distribution is 6 to Korea, 4 to Taiwan and 2 to Hong Kong. That's 60% of the new day time slots! So what should JAL and ANA's plan be for these added competitions? I think the biggest advantage of JAL (and ANA) is their connecting flights out of Haneda. If they can time their flights right, they can fill up their regional flights by attracting connecting passengers to the US or Europe. I won't mind flying LAX-HND-HKG instead of LAX-NRT-HKG :)

Rumor: Inamori does NOT want Onishi as JAL new COO

Sorry Masaru Onish, President of Japan Air Commuter, you are not the right person as Japan Airlines new COO. At least Kazuo Inamori, JAL's new CEO said so, according to Kyodo News.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

JAL to cut 1/4 costs

Nikkei (via Bloomberg) reports that Japan Airlines plans to reduce its operating costs by 1/4 in the next three years. JAL will reduce fuel costs by revising future contracts and switching to smaller aircraft (dumping the 744).

Let's see, by laying off 1/3 of staff, 1/3 pension cut for retirees and 1/2 cut for staff, and all those route suspensions, JAL can only probably reduce the operation costs by 25%. But one concern is the future fuel price. The jet fuel price has increased quite a bit over the last year (just look at the fuel surcharge :P). And fuel costs is still one of the biggest costs of an airlines. I hope the new JAL management and ETIC have figured out a way to deal with this problem in the future. Hopefully they won't rely on solving this by raising the fuel surcharge LOL

Friday, January 15, 2010

JAL: No decision has been made on alliance yet

Spokespersons from Japan Airlines, Delta and American Airlines all respond to the Yomiuri's report saying JAL and Delta has reached a basic agreement over business tie-up. They all denied the rumor according to Bloomberg.

“We haven’t reached a decision,” Sze Hunn Yap, the JAL’s spokeswoman

“We continue to be in discussions with JAL,” Betsy Talton, a Delta spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

“We have no reason to believe this unsubstantiated and speculative report,” Charley Wilson, a spokesman for the AMR unit.

Rumor: JAL and Delta signed the basic agreement on the tie-up

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Japan Airlines and Delta has signed the basic agreement on their tie-up. And JAL and Delta will apply for the ATI by mid-February. That means JAL is leaving oneworld for the Skyteam!

JAL issued a statement regarding JMB miles usage

Japan Airlines issued a statement (in Japanese) on their website regarding their mileage program, JAL Mileage Bank. This is to repeat what ETIC said yesterday regarding the miles protection. JAL said JMB members can still use their accrued miles for award redemptions for tickets, upgrade, partner airlines tickets, JAL COUPON, JAL IC COUPON, etc.

Update: Here is the English version of the JAL statement.

Rumor: Two core JAL subsidiaries will also file for bankruptcy and more possible business withdrawals

Nikkei Net (Japanese version of Nikkei.com, the English version of the article is available to subscribers only) reports that the two core subsidiaries of Japan Airlines will file for bankruptcy together with the parent company.

ANA says NO to JAL's international network

Here are more details of ANA's news conference. Reporters asked ANA's CEO, Shinichiro Ito, a lot of questions regarding the current Japan Airlines situation and how it is going to affect ANA. Here are the highlights from Nikkei.com's report.

  1. ANA has no intention to take over JAL's international network.
  2. Hinted ANA will increase flights to some lucrative overseas routes given JAL's coming scale back and suspensions.
  3. ANA wants a fair and competitive environment even JAL is receiving huge public fund injection.
  4. ANA will offer whatever assistance they can do during the JAL restructuring.

ETIC will announce JAL restructuring plan on Jan 19 2010

The "X-day" is set finally! The Transport Minister told reports after meeting the Prime Minister that the ETIC will announce the rehabilitation plan for Japan Airlines on January 19 2010. Four more days then we will know the near future of JAL!!!

Source: Nikkei.com

Rumored new JAL COO: Masaru Onishi

It has been floating around for a while that the new Japan Airlines COO will be a internal promotion and is a young executive. Now they finally know the name of the rumored COO.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Government will set JAL's "X-day" today and JAL is 145 billion yen "richer"

According to Nikkei.com, the Transport Minister will meet with the Minister today to finalize the "X-day" for Japan Airlines. "X-day" is the term used to describe the day the ETIC will announce the restructuring package for JAL.

Hilton will take over JAL Hotel in Fukuoka

According to nikkei.com, Hilton will take over the JAL Resort Sea Hawk Hotel in Fukuoka in June. The owner of the hotel, Singaporean sovereign wealth fun GIC, chooses not to renew the management contract with JAL Hotels Co when it expires in June. Possibly due to the recent brand image of Japan Airlines. The hotel will be rebranded but the good news is Hilton will retain the entire staff.

All of the hotels under the JAL Hotels Co. are actually owned by other people. JAL is just managing their properties and uses its brand to attract tourist bookings...So if this trend continues, we will be seeing more JAL hotels getting rebranded. Hopefully most their contracts won't expire any time soon :(

JAL Doraemon Jet

JAL Doraemon Jet
JAL Doraemon Jet. Image by Japan Airlines.

Forget about the ANA's Pokemon Jet! To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Doraemon movies, Japan Airlines now has a 777-300 Doraemon Jet which will fly domestically to Sapporo, Haneda, Itami, Nagoya, Fukuoka, and Okinawa between mid February and end of April 2010.

ANA CEO: Government asked for our help

According to Nikkei.com, ANA's CEO Shinichiro Ito said the Japanese government has officially asked ANA to cooperation during Japan Airlines' restructuring process. But there is specific details about what kind of help ANA will provide.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another record breaking day for JAL stock

Japan Airlines stock once again breaks the highest volume traded record today. There were 1,042,599,000 shares traded today, accounting for around 1/3 of the 1st section shares traded in Tokyo Stock Exchange today (sadly this is 1/3 of the volume not value LOL). This breaks the previous record of 822.96 million shares traded set by JAL yesterday.

ETIC issued statement

Due to increased concerns and rumors over Japan Airlines' future, ETIC has issued a statement outlining their current JAL restructuring strategy. Actually it's more like a pledge to guarantee operations so people won't freak out.

Irregular operations at Narita and Haneda due to radar malfunction

Japan Airlines has updated its website informing passengers about the current irregular operations at both Narita and Haneda airports. The problem is caused by an air traffic control radar malfunction. For latest flight information, you can visit JAL website (domestic, international)

Update: flights are back to normal now :)

JAL to study cooperations with Fuji Dream Airlines

Japan Airlines has issued a press release (in Japanese) regarding possibility of cooperations with a Japan domestic carrier, Fuji Dream Airlines (FDA). According to the press release, JAL and FDA have signed an agreement to start study on business cooperation and code sharing between the two airlines.

JAL expands code sharing agreement with Mexicana

Japan Airlines announced they will expand its code sharing agreement with Mexicana, another Oneworld carrier. Starting from January 14 2010, JAL will add "JL" codes on MX's Los Angeles (LAX)-Leon/Guanajuato (BJX) and San Francisco (SFO)-Meixco City (MEX) flights while MX will add "MX" code to JAL's San Francisco (SFO)-Tokyo (NRT) flights. Also, MX will also increase its Vancouver-Tokyo and Vancouver-Mexico City codeshare frequencies from January 18 2010. Below are the detail schedules of the new code share flights.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New rumored details of JAL restructuring plan

Kyodo News reports about some new details about Japan Airlines' restructuring plan. Under the plan, JAL will start up a budget airlines operating flights from Kansai and Chubu airports and sell off shares of JTA and RAC.

JAL breaks another record

Normally it should be good news if Japan Airlines breaks a record. But probably it is not the case this time. According to Nikkei.com, today there were 822.96 million shares of JAL stock traded, accounting for 26% of the tradings on the Tokyo Exchange first section. And this breaks the record volume traded made by Mizuho Financial Group Inc on December 16. The previous record was 708.89 million shares. JAL beats them by 16%!!! The only thing is, JAL stock is trading at all time low of 7 yen per share. It's just a matter of time it will hit 1 yen, probably tomorrow? LOL

Kazuo Inamori expresses his intention to be the next JAL CEO

Finally Dr. Kazuo Inamori speaks to the press after a meeting with the ETIC regarding the rumor about he is going to take over Haruka Nishimatsu's job as the next Japan Airlines CEO. According to Nikkei, Inamori said he feels good about the idea but the official announcement/decision will be made after the ETIC officially make the offer. So it's just a matter of time :)

JAL got approval from retirees for the pension cut

Looks like the "blackmailing" works LOL. Or maybe the hard work from the Japan Airlines staff finally paid off. JAL announced that they have received enough votes from the retirees to approve the proposed pension cut. According to Reuters, 5,991 out of 8,936 retirees has notified JAL that they agree with the proposed cut, a little bit more than the required 2/3 :) So the last hurdle for the ETIC has finally been cleared. Congratulations!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Standard denial from JAL

Once again Japan Airlines issued a statement (in Japanese) on its website denying the latest rounds of news reports (probably regarding JAL filing for bankruptcy and its stock will be delisted from the stock exchange.) Same as before, JAL said the information is now released by the company and they have not decided on the restructuring yet. OK if you say so :) You can read the latest denial on JAL website.

Update: Here is the English version of the statement issued on JAL Hong Kong website.

oneworld has officially sweetened JAL's offer

Executives from American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, and Cathay Pacific held a press conference at Tokyo today to announce the latest offer to Japan Airlines from oneworld.

Rumor: JAL will join the Skyteam by April 2011

According to 47 News (in Japanese), Japan Airlines will switch to the Skyteam by April 2011. The highlights from the article are:

  1. JAL will file for bankruptcy.
  2. JAL will get delisted
  3. JAL will join the Skyteam by April 2011
  4. JAL and Delta will file for ATI
  5. JAL will focus on HND and starts with LAX-HND service in fiscal year 2011 :)

As long as JAL keeps LAX and HKG services (whether they are to NRT or HND), I will still be JALPak :) That's the only good news/rumor that cheers me up in the past week!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Rumor: 2/3 pension cut coming if JAL retirees don't agree on the proposed cut

Bloomberg reports (based on Yomiuri Newspaper's article) that Japan Airlines may delay the pension cut vote to January 22 2010 if JAL fails to obtain the required 2/3 votes to pass the proposed cut on January 12. Apparently if JAL eventually fails to obtain the required vote from the retirees, pension will be cut by 60%, doubling the proposed 30%. But Yomiuri newspaper does not cite its source...So is this the last effort to swing the undecided retirees to agree with the cut by "blackmailing"? LOL

No capital tie-up, only business tie-up with US airlines

According to Nikkei, ETIC has decided a capital tie-up with either AA or Delta wouldn't do any good to Japan Airlines during the restructuring process. Therefore, JAL isn't picking for an alliance based on who's paying for more money (sorry AA), but who's providing more business synergy to JAL.

Rumor: Dr. Kazuo Inamori is the top of JAL new CEO list

Nikkei.com reports that Dr. Kazuo Inamori, the honorary chairman of Kyocera, has been invited by the Japanese government and ETIC to be the new CEO of Japan Airlines when the current JAL CEO Haruka Nishimatsu resigns after the course of restructuring is established. Inamori is a very successful entrepreneur and is a founder of some very famous Japanese companies such as Kyocera and DDI (now KDDI). You can read his profile and management philosophy on his official site, or you can refer to wikipedia if you prefer :)

Update: Bloomberg has a report based on Nikkei's article. Apparently, Kazuo will respond within a week.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Last effort to save JAL?

FNN news (video and article in Japanese) reports that Japan Airlines staff are handing out hand-written messages to customers at Haneda. In the video, you can see JAL pilots, cabin attendants and mechanics handing out message cards at Haneda. Anyone knows what the hand-written message is about?

On the other hand, JAL staff are giving up their holidays (Jan 11 is national holiday in Japan) and go back to JAL office to call the retirees. They are trying their last effort to persuade them to agree with the proposed pension cuts. (You can see that in the video link above too).

This is touching and at the same time sad. I have done all I could as a passenger to help out JAL last year but apparently there are not many JALPak out there :(

Update: According to Q Shoe Guy from FlyerTalk, the hand-written message is to thank the customers for their support and with your help JAL will do its best to go through the forthcoming restructuring.

One more step towards bankruptcy and more route cancellations coming

After the cabinet meeting held yesterday, Transport Minister Seiji Maehara said the Japanese government will let ETIC decides on Japan Airlines' fate. ETIC and DBJ were rumored to favor reviving JAL through court-led bankruptcy. Nikkei now reports that JAL's main creditors, who originally opposed the bankruptcy option, are now reluctantly agreed to the bankruptcy option.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Transport Minister: JAL unlikely to decide between AA and Delta this month

In a report from the Business Week regarding AA may cut Japan capacity if Japan Airlines ends its ties with them, there was a quote from Transport Minister of Japan, Seiji Maehara. Apparently Maehara has told reporters that JAL is unlikely to pick its alliance this month. This contradicts with what JAL said earlier that it will decide on the alliance by early January. This has dragged on for too long already. The earlier JAL makes the decision, the earlier they could file ATI application together and ends all those questions about whether my award tickets be honored on FlyerTalk :P

Rumor: AA has sweetened JAL's offer

The Wall Street Journal reports that American Airlines has raised its offer to Japan Airlines by USD300 million to USD1.4 billion! But JAL declines to comment whether that's true. Looks like AA is trying really hard to save the JAL relationship. Delta's CEO hinted they could raised the offer through partnership with a third party resources. So apparently the war is not over yet :)

JAL to codeshare with Vietnam Airlines on Osaka-Hanoi

Japan Airlines has expanded its codeshare agreement with Vietnam Airlines to include Osaka (Kansai) - Hanoi.

This is to replace the suspended JAL KIX-HAN flight starting from January 11 2010. The codeshare will begin on January 13 2010 and ticket sale will start tomorrow. There will be 5 weekly (Mon, Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun) flights operated by VN with an airbus 321. The schedules are as follow:

Osaka - Hanoi
JL5125/VN945 departs at 11:00 and arrives at 14:45

Hanoi - Osaka
JL5126/VN944 departs at 00:30 and arrives at 06:40

Source: JAL Press Release

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Business Travel Coalition opposes JAL-Delta tie-up

Business Week reports that Business Travel Coalition, a global travel group representing 17 global corporations based in Brussels, opposes Japan Airlines-Delta tie-up. Reasons? Too much pricing power and decreased in competitions. They have sent a letter to the Transport Minister of Japan stating their views.

Looks like AA won't be the only one opposing JAL and Delta's ATI application if JAL switches alliance to the Skyteam. If JAL's ATI application doesn't get approved, the Japan-US open sky deal will most likely be off the table. If that's the case, who will be the biggest loser?

Counter suggestions from the other three major creditors

Rumor is that ETIC and Development Bank of Japan are supporting the court-lead bankruptcy of Japan Airlines but the other three major creditors of JAL: Mizuho Corporate Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, and Sumitomo Mitsui, which have outstanding loan of 50 billion yen, 50 billion yen and 30 billion yen respectively, are opposing the plan according to The Wall Street Journal. (As a matter of fact, JAL CEO Nishimatsu-san is opposing that too). Nikkei.com reports that the mega banks have now submitted a "make-or-break" proposal for JAL restructuring.

JAL releases 2010 New Year vacation period traffic data

Japan Airlines has issued a press release regarding the traffic results of the 2010 New Year vacation period. There is a 8.9% improvement on international flight loads but a 2.1% decrease on the domestic one.

JAL Hang Seng Card 5th anniversary campaign

Japan Airlines Hong Kong is having a special campaign for the 5th anniversary of the JAL Hang Seng Card, the credit card used for earning JMB miles in Hong Kong.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

JL545 slide off icy taxiway at Sapporo on January 2

What's wrong with the Sapporo airport. Two incidents in two days LOL. This one actually happened before the JL3302 bird strike. Japan Airlines flight 545 from Haneda to Sapporo slides off the taxiway on January 2 2010 but no one was injured.

JAL getting less slots than ANA at new Haneda runway

According to the report on 47news (in Japanese), Japan Airlines is getting less slots than ANA at the new Haneda runway.

Monday, January 4, 2010

JAL got 2/3 of employee to OK pension cut

According to Reuters, Japan Airlines has received 2/3 of employees' approval for the proposed pension cut. But only 3000 retired employees has agreed to the cut so far, with 6000 remaining retirees undecided. So JAL will need 3000 more retireed employees' approval. Without the pension cut, JAL won't be able to redeuce the 331 billion yen pension shortfall, and therefore might not get the ETIC help. The deadline for retirees to return their vote is January 12 2010, so there's around a week left. One hurdle cleared, but one more to go.

NO! JAL has NOT decided to tie up with Delta YET!

All those people thought Delta has won the Japan Airlines bidding war based on Yomiuri Shimbun's report, which does not even cite its source, NO JAL has not make the decision yet. Or should I say they havne't made their decision publicly yet.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New benefits for JAL elites

Japan Airlines has rolled out two added benefits to its most frequent flyers, i.e. elite members. The two added benefits are "Frequent Visitor e-Channel at HKG" and "Forward Seat Assignments on Domestic Flights"

Bird strike on JL3302

There was a bird strike on Japan Airlines flight 3302 from Sapporo to Kobe on January 3 2010.

According to The Aviation Herald (which by the way has a really cool photo of the aircraft after the bird strike and you can see fire coming out of the engine), it was a Boeing 767-300 which is registered as JA8299. A bird was ingested to the left engine during the initial climb. The plane returned to Sapporo safely 15 minutes after departure. None of the 231 people onboard was hurt.

DBJ doubles JAL credit line

The Development Bank of Japan agrees to double Japan Airlines' credit line to 200 billion yen after a meeting with the ministers on Sunday.

JAL against bankruptcy and prefers Delta

Japan Airlines CEO Haruka Nishimatsu did an interview with the Asahi on New Year, which is published today. In the interview, he states that he is against the idea of JAL filing for bankruptcy and dropping the entire JAL international network, and prefers Delta as JAL's overseas partner.