Japan Airlines (JAL) would consider forming a joint venture on European routes with Air France-KLM. Bloomberg reported the airline’s President, Masaru Onishi as saying in an interview that while a tie-up with oneworld alliance partner British Airways is his main focus, JAL may look to the Franco-Dutch SkyTeam alliance member as a means of extending its reach into Europe.
“Our alliance with British Airways is the key. 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,” Onishi told Bloomberg, before adding; “We could expand our business in Europe with Air France and KLM.”
JAL’s plans to launch a European joint venture are in response to a similar agreement forged recently between its Japanese rival, All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Lufthansa – both members of the Star Alliance. Onishi declined to say when he expected to reach an agreement with BA. Last year JAL launched a trans-Pacific joint venture with another of its oneworld partners, American Airlines. This followed a bidding war between American and Delta Air Lines – a SkyTeam ally of Air France-KLM – which had threatened to lure the then-bankrupt JAL to SkyTeam.
“We’ve boosted our competitiveness on trans-Pacific routes,” Onishi said. “We’ve been able to improve cooperation and so we’re moving to the second stage, which is making it stronger,” he said without specifying what the second stage would entail.
Responding to enquiries by Travel Daily, JAL confirmed yesterday that it is looking at potential tie-ups in Europe, with BA its preferred option. It added however, that airlines such as Air France-KLM would not be “restricted by