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Monday, July 1, 2013

Finnair, JAL and British Airways apply for anti-trust immunity on flights between Japan and Europe

JAL, British Airways and Finnair logos


Currently Japan Airlines (JAL) and British Airways (BA) have a joint business agreement on flights between Europe and Japan. After rounds of negotiation, Finnair (AY), JAL and BA have reached an agreement to deepen their ties and to include Finnair in the joint business agreement.

JAL has been discussing with Finnair for quite some time for this expanded joint business agreement. Rumor first surfaced back in April 2012. Then JAL confirmed its plan to deepen its relationship with Finnair when it announced the launch of the new Tokyo Narita - Helsinki daily service in October 2012. And they finally announce this result on July 1, the day JAL finally launched the delayed Helsiniki service (you can see pictures of the launch from Aviation Wire) :)

Once approved, the three carriers will be able to coordinate on their schedules and fares, and share the profits on flights between Japan and Europe. Frequent flyers will also benefit from the reciprocal frequent flyer benefits such as elite bonus miles on each others' flights.

The three CEOs seem to be looking forward to this.

"We are pleased to have taken one giant leap to include our oneworld partner Finnair in our joint business with British Airways,”said Yoshiharu Ueki, President of Japan Airlines. “With the strengthened partnership, we can improve our efficiencies to provide the travelling public between Europe and Japan with a more comprehensive network.”

Keith Williams, chief executive of British Airways said, “The inclusion of Finnair in the joint business will strengthen the ties between East and West in this vital and growing market.”

Pekka Vauramo, CEO of Finnair, conveyed, "We are delighted to deepen our cooperation with our oneworld partners JAL and British Airways, which are both leading carriers in their home markets. Japan is one of Finnair's core markets and we look forward to the benefits this strategic joint business agreement will bring to our customers and other stakeholders."

But I still have mixed feelings towards all these joint business agreement. On one hand it is nice to have extra elite bonus miles, but on the other hand, I have seen a lot of devaluations of the JAL Mileage Bank (JMB) programs after these agreement. The accumulation rates on the JAL, BA, and American Airlines (AA) have all be decreased over time for the discounted fares. So let's see if the Finnair rates will decrease also as a result of this joint business.

For more details, you can refer to JAL Press Release (Japanese, English)


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