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Sunday, August 7, 2011

JAL may seek joint venture with Air France

Japan Airlines may (JAL) seek joint venture agreement with Air France (AF) to bolster its European operations. According to the Bloomberg report, JAL will seek other JBV opportunities in Europe if the JBV with British Airways (BA) cannot cover the entire Europe.

“Our alliance with British Airways is the key,” President Masaru Onishi said in an interview at the carrier’s Tokyo headquarters on Aug. 5. “If we can cover all of Europe with them, which would include Iberia as well, then we won’t need other joint ventures. If not, we’ll look to other airlines.”

JAL may also boost cooperation with other Oneworld members, including Finnair Oyj (FIA1S) on European routes, Onishi said

Since oneworld does not prohibit its members to work with members of other alliances, therefore JAL could work with AF who is a member of SkyTeam if they want.

“We could expand our business in Europe with Air France and KLM,” said Onishi. Air France-KLM (AF) owns the two European airlines.

There are no information on JAL's negotiation with BA as Onishi declined to give any specific dates which he expects they can make an agreement on the JBV. But he did say the other JBV with AA is doing well and JAL has learned the know how from AA. As a result they could flexibly adjust their on a weekly basis after the March 11 earthquake. Before, they could only do this on a monthly basis. This helps JAL generates 17.1 billion yen of operating profit in the first quarter. And Onishi said they are now moving to the second stage of their JBV with AA, which is to make it stronger. But he didn't elaborate on this.

It would be interesting if JAL has a cross alliance JBV with AF and reciprocal elite benefits. Not that I will fly with them any time soon but it will sure be an industry first?

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