Global Airport News

Global Airport News

Japan Airlines Corp is likely to opt for a tie-up with Delta Air Lines Inc or AMR Corp's American Airlines, among rivals seeking to invest in the loss-making carrier, if Japan and the United States can reach an "open skies" agreement.

The U.S. airlines, and others, are chasing a stake in Asia's biggest carrier by revenue to help them grow in China and get access to JAL's other Asian routes via code-sharing agreements.

One source, not authorized to discuss the talks publicly, said the carriers were each discussing investing $200-300 million in JAL for a minority stake and a code-sharing deal.

Asked if JAL would choose either Delta or American as a partner, CEO Haruka Nishimatsu told reporters on Tuesday: "Yes, I think so, if an open skies agreement looks likely."

Such a deal would allow closer cooperation on flight scheduling and profit-sharing between U.S. and Japanese airlines.

Air France-KLM is also in talks to invest in JAL, said the source who was familiar with the matter. Air France-KLM said it had no comment.

Investing in JAL would bring access to Haneda, the world's third-busiest airport by passenger numbers. Both Haneda and Tokyo's Narita international airport are expanding, adding international flights and airline slots.

The decision by JAL, which is undergoing a state-supervised restructuring after years of losses, could reshape the alliances that dominate the global airline industry. The company said it hoped to wrap up the capital tie-up talks by mid-October.