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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!

Okada used the analogy of a hockey game to describe the current JAL situation.

"We need to get stronger when they are sick," said Keisuke Okada, an ANA board member and executive vice president of alliances and international affairs. "It's like the penalty box in a hockey game - if you have someone in the penalty box, then that is the opportunity to catch up and get stronger."

...

"I have been waiting for this for more than 30 years," said Mr. Okada, a 36-year veteran of ANA, referring to JAL' s bankruptcy filing.

Okada said ANA is not going to just blindly copy JAL's routes (which makes sense because JAL won't be loss money if their international network is making money :P). Instead they will study which routes are good for their customers. He hinted possible addition of Houston which is a Continental hub and increase to twice daily service at Frankfurt which is a Lufthansa hub. Other emerging markets like India and Africa are also areas which ANA is studying. But Okada said they don't have a classical way of thinking right now because there are so many options out there for ANA.

Another part of their evil plan is to secure a bigger portion of the international slots at Narita and Haneda after their expansions. ANA has already secured more added domestic slots at Haneda than JAL.

Well, there are reports saying JAL hasn't even requested the additional international slots at Narita. So no doubt that ANA will get more slots at Narita than usual. But for Haneda, I hope not. If reports saying JAL is moving its focus to Haneda is true, then JAL needs those slots to add international services as part of their restructuring plan. And Haneda has a much better domestic network than Narita. It is essential if JAL wants to get back the customers it lost to Korean carriers over the years due to the inconvenient Narita connection. Normal passengers won't prefer taking ground transportation from Narita to Haneda over a seamless transit at Incheon (which by the way has much less operation restrictions than NRT).

From ANA's point of view, I agree it's great opportunity for them. But it doesn't mean JAL should throw in the white towel and let you take whatever you want!

By the way, Okada made this comment when asked about the Transport Minister's remark of reviewing whether there's a need for two mega-airlines in Japan. This is the only lines that I like (as a JAL fanboy LOL) from the interview :P. Okada is the second ANA executive to make similar comments.

"For us, it's very strange - the question itself doesn't make sense. This should be decided by the market. Does the government decide how many McDonald's there are in Japan?... I don't understand."


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