International Airlines Group, the owner of British Airways, has said that it would be interested in negotiating the purchase of a stake in Japan Airlines. The Asian carrier was forced to apply for bankruptcy protection in 2010, but is expected to be back on the stock exchange in Tokyo before the end of the year.
An initial public offering is expected to generate between ¥500 billion and ¥1 trillion. JAL is part of the Oneworld alliance along with IAG, and the airline group’s boss, Willie Walsh, has been keen to develop closer ties with JAL for some time. Last month a joint venture was announced between the two on a number of routes between Japan and Europe.
In a statement IAG said that it was impressed at the restructuring work which has gone on at JAL since filing for bankruptcy protection and that there was definitely some interest in investment. Since 2010, the Asian carrier has cut a number of routes and reduced its workforce by around a third. Other members of Oneworld may also be interested in investing in JAL.
Mr Walsh is currently waiting for a decision to be made by the European Union as to whether IAG will be allowed to takeover bmi. According to reports, IAG has agreed to give up more of its landing and take-off slots at Heathrow in order to satisfy the competition regulators.
Virgin Atlantic has challenged the deal saying that there will be a loss of competition on European routes if it is allowed to go ahead.