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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's official, JAL picks AA

Finally! Japan Airlines has officially announce picking American as their US partner. JAL and AA will apply for ATI as early as this weekend.

In the JAL press release, COO Onishi said they have analyzed the issue in great detail and believed the advantage of deepening relationship with AA can strong support JAL's revival plan. JAL and AA will jointly file for the ATI application with US DOT and MLIT. With ATI, JAL and AA can act as one company and rearrange its network, schedule flights and sell seats, etc. JAL and AA will enter a joint business venture as a result of ATI approval. At the same time, JAL will look into the offers presented by other oneworld members and develop better products for its customers.

According to Nikkei.com, JAL's vice president of corporate planning, Daiji Nagai, acknowledged that DL offers a better long-term growth and lots of business opportunities with a wider network in Europe. But unfortunately JAL needs to focus on its turnaround and don't want to risk losing current customers due to the alliance switch.

Below are the responses from different parties,

AA CEO Gerard Arpey: "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" (Nikkei.com)

Skyteam: "The members of SkyTeam respect the decision made by Japan Airlines to remain in the oneworld alliance. We believe that cooperation with JAL would have brought good opportunities to all parties involved." (Nikkei.com)

Delta: "Delta is well positioned as the No. 1 carrier between the U.S. and Asia. Customers can continue to count on Delta for unmatched access to Japan, with nonstop service between 10 U.S. destinations and Tokyo..." (CNN Money)

I feel sorry for you DL. You still failed after spending months on courting for JAL. The outcome might have been different if DL were to start this fight a few years ago when JAL wasn't bankrupt and was still protected by LDP. Better lucky next time. But if JAL and AA are to sign a similar JV agreement like DL did with AF/KLM, DL needs to wait at least another decade before they can pick on AA again. Whether DL still exists by then is another story LOL. At least now I (and probably some other JAL customers) have looked at the Skyteam website and compare their benefits with OW's. That's one thing DL gained from this bidding war :)

OK, finally the drama is over. Time to focus on restructuring! And I am glad that Inamori has got something done fast. What a good start :)

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