Parent of British Airways, International Airlines Group, is moving closer to formal talks about acquiring a share of former Japanese flag carrier JAL. Head of IAG Willie Walsh said that the idea of investing in the airline had been met with a positive reaction.
JAL is looking to re-launch on the Tokyo stock market in September having been in bankruptcy protection since 2010. Rescue for the company came in the form of the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp which is currently in control of 96.5 per cent of the airline.
Although the Japanese regulator is said to be looking at the possibility of a deal between IAG and JAL there are still regulations in place which mean the airline is not supposed to be actively pursuing investment as it has still not formerly declared its intention to re-float.
Walsh said the plans should not be seen as a warm up for a takeover and that IAG would be looking for a 10 per cent share. He explained that moves like investing in partners was a way of making relationships with other carriers more concrete. He added that such agreements were more about commitment to future joint ventures. Both IAG and JAL are members of the Oneworld airline alliance.
Walsh was attending the World Travel and Tourism Conference which is being held in Tokyo when he made his comments. He also took the opportunity for another dig at the British government and its lack of a policy on aviation after David Cameron said it was important that the country remains linked to the world’s growing economies.