JAL looks to Air France for possible joint venture partnership

8 Aug 2011

Japan Airlines (JAL), which is currently negotiating a potential joint venture with British Airways (BA) (see story here), may also be seeking to forge a similar business partnership with Air France in case the deal with BA falls through.

The carrier stated that if a partnership with BA can coherently cover an expansive European network, looking to other airlines would not be necessary. JAL president, Masaru Onishi, said: “If we can cover all of Europe with them (BA), which would include Iberia as well, then we won’t need other joint ventures. If not, we’ll look to other airlines.”

Currently, JAL already codeshares with both Air France and BA therefore a joint venture with either carrier would simply deepen existing ties. While BA and JAL are both members of the oneworld alliance, JAL stated that Air France is a viable alternative since it is not restricted by its membership with the Sky Team alliance to partner with airlines outside the alliance. 

In January this year, JAL finalised a joint venture with American Airlines (AA), which was facilitated by the US-Japan Open Skies agreement (see story here). The partnership, implemented in April, splits revenue on transpacific flights, provides reciprocal benefits for the two carriers’ loyalty programme members and synchronises schedules for seamless connection.

Its partnership with AA will form the skeleton of its potential partnership with a European carrier. JAL president, Masaru Onishi, said: “We want to build similar agreements in Europe to our North American one.” However, a timeline for negotiations with either carrier has not been released. 

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Alisha Haridasani

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