JAL and ANA ground Boeing 787 Fleets

All Nippon Airways (ANA) and its rival Japan Airlines (JAL), the two biggest carriers in Japan, have both announced the grounding of their entire Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleets following Wednesday morning’s emergency landing at the Takamatsu airport in Kagawa Prefecture. Five day’s worth of malfunctions and problems with the new aircraft has now continued into a second week with a Tokyo-bound ANA flight landing after smoke was seen in the cockpit.

ANA and JAL are among Boeing’s most important customers, having placed a combined total of 111 of the new 787 Dreamliners. Following the news of Wednesday’s incident, both airlines announced they were taking the airplanes out of operation for safety inspections. ANA currently has 17 in operation, while JAL has seven. Spokesmen from ANA haven’t commented about the sightings of smoke, but they said a problem with the battery system resulted in an error message displayed in the cockpit. While the passengers and crew had to use the emergency exit chutes after the plane landed, none of the 138 people on board were injured.

ANA has said it is “aware” of the troubling series of incidents involving the Boeing 787 over the last week, but adds that it is not ready to comment about the emergency landing or if today’s malfunction is related to any previous problems. While some of the other issues have been relatively minor, such as a cracked windshield or a leaking fuel valve, the others have included a malfunctioning brake system and, even more alarming, a fire breaking out in the battery compartment just after a JAL flight landed in Boston. Flight regulators in both the U.S. and Japan are launching their own investigations, spurred by a growing concern from travelers.


Japan Airlines Returns to Market

Japan Airlines JAL returned to the Tokyo stock market on Wednesday with just modest gains after a massive $8.5 billion initial public offering IPO. Yet, analysts expect to see strong foreign interest in the carrier, which has turned itself around from bankruptcy just 2-1/2 years ago.

JAL shares rose 1 percent on Wednesday, trading around 3,830 yen in Asia trade – just above the IPO price of 3,790 yen and valuing the entire airline at just under $9 billion, which ranks it alongside Air China Shanghai Stock Exchange: 601111.SS as Asias second biggest airline by market valuation.

Analysts blamed concerns over a territorial dispute between Japan and China for spooking retail investors-who account for 70 percent of the IPOs investors-and dampening what would have otherwise been a strong debut for the stock.

Read the rest of the story: Blue Skies Ahead as Japan Airlines Returns to Market.

Japan Air Seeking $8.4 Billion in Largest IPO Since Facebook

Japan Airlines Co. will seek as much as 663 billion yen ($8.4 billion) in the largest initial public offering since Facebook Inc. (FB), capping a state-backed turnaround since it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010.

Shares will be on offer at a price range of 3,500 yen to 3,790 yen, according to a statement today. That’s in line with the indicative price of 3,790 yen announced earlier this month. The carrier won’t get any of the sale proceeds as the 175 million shares are being sold by its government-backed parent.

JAL will be priced at about five times forecast earnings, compared with 16 times for All Nippon Airways Co. (9202), Japan’s largest carrier. The company is returning to the Tokyo stock exchange after shedding a third of its workforce, scrapping routes and retiring older planes in a restructuring that returned it to profit.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Air Seeks $8.4 Billion in Biggest IPO Since Facebook.

Japan Airlines to try to raise $8 bln in IPO

Japan Airlines, targeting to raise roughly $8 billion in the world’s second-biggest initial public offering this year, will apply as early as Wednesday to re-list its shares in September, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The IPO underscores the former national carrier’s emergence from bankruptcy with r ecord p rofits. The sale will be second in size to social networking giant Facebook’s $16 billion offering this year, and the seventh-largest ever in Japan (EUREX: FMJP.EX – news) in yen terms, acco rding to Thomson Reuters (Toronto: TRI.TO – news) data.

The Japanese government, which injected 350 billion yen ($4.44 billion) into Japan Airlines (JAL (Frankfurt: 777495 – news) ) after it collapsed in January 2010 with $25 billion in debts, stands to double its investment if the IPO, slated for mid-September, is completed without a hitch.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Airlines to apply for September relisting after $8 bln IPO-source.

Japan Air Sees ‘Very Long’ Wait for U.S. Sales Rebound

Japan Airlines Co., the nation’s biggest international carrier, said ticket sales in Europe and the U.S. were lagging behind forecasts and would take a “very long” time to recover from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.“The recovery of demand from Europe and North America has not met our expectations,” President Masaru Onishi said in an interview in Singapore yesterday, ahead of the International Air Transport Association annual general meeting. “We feel it’s going to be a very long, drawn out and slow recovery.”JAL and overseas carriers including United Continental Holdings Inc. and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines cut Japan flights after the March 11 earthquake as concerns about radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant north of Tokyo deterred visitors.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Air Sees ‘Very Long’ Wait for U.S. Sales Rebound on Quake.

US gives ok for Japan Airline Alliances

US authorities on Wednesday gave the green light for Japan’s two main airlines and their US partners to coordinate operations, a move it said would help lower air fares across the Pacific.

Japan and the United States in December last year agreed on an "open-skies" deal, allowing the two countries’ airlines to adapt to demand and ending a half-century accord that preset the number of flights.

But Japan Airlines and Air Nippon Airways both sought immunity from US anti-trust laws to allow further cooperation with their partners, such as coordinating prices.

Japan Airlines, which is in the midst of painful restructuring, is part of the oneworld alliance with American Airlines. All Nippon Airways is a member of the Star Alliance with newly merged United Airlines and Continental Airlines.

Read the rest of the story: US gives go-ahead for Japan airline alliances.

Japan Airlines to cut 16,500 jobs

Japan Airlines Corp plans to reduce its workforce by a third within the fiscal year to lower labor costs by 81.7 billion yen a year, the Nikkei business daily said. The restructuring proposal compiled by the carrier and the state-backed Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp of Japan suggests to cut 16,500 jobs. The proposed cuts include 5,405 workers from cargo and other peripheral operations, 2,460 flight attendants, 2,043 sales representatives and 775 pilots.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Airlines to cut 16,500 jobs

JAL to Stay with American Airlines and the Oneworld Airlines Alliance

Japan Airlines confirmed on Tuesday that it would maintain its partnership with American Airlines and the Oneworld airlines alliance, dashing Delta Air Lines’ hopes of partnering with the troubled Japanese carrier.

Crippled by years of mismanagement and debts of more than ¥2 trillion, or $22.4 billion, the once-mighty Japanese flag carrier, also known as JAL, was forced to file for bankruptcy protection last month.

Despite its financial woes, JAL had been wooed by two of the biggest U.S. carriers, American Airlines, also a Oneworld member, and Delta Air Lines, which is part of the rival Skyteam alliance.

Both American and Delta had courted JAL for months, offering more than $1 billion in support last year, as the Japanese carrier’s problems grew more acute.

JAL’s strong foothold in the world’s second-largest economy and its links to Asia make it an important partner for any airline seeking to better position itself in that fast-growing region.


Fly with Doraemon on JAL

Their stocks are plunging and they are preparing to file for bankruptcy, but that’s not stopping the struggling Japan Airlines (JAL) from offering travelers the opportunity to fly with Doraemon, the beloved cartoon gadget-cat from the future.

According to a press release on the company website, JAL will begin operating the “Doraemon Jet” — a Boeing 777-300 decorated with large colorful images of Doraemon characters — on domestic routes (mainly between Tokyo Haneda, Sapporo, Itami, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Okinawa) beginning in mid-February.

The anime-themed aircraft is the result of a joint effort between JAL and the creators of the Doraemon movies to promote this year’s annual Doraemon film, Doraemon The Movie: Nobita’s Great Battle of the Mermaid King (a.k.a. Doraemon The Legend), which will hit theaters on March 6. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Doraemon movie franchise.


In addition to operating the Doraemon Jet, JAL will be offering Doraemon-themed tours to Okinawa from February 15 through April 30 with daily departures from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Kitakyushu. The carrier will also provide a selection of Doraemon entertainment on domestic and international flights, as well as a Doraemon kids’ corner at airports and limited-edition Doraemon goods through their in-flight catalog.

Story: pinktentacle and JAL press release

JAL To Get A Doulbe State-Funded Credit Line

The Japanese government agreed Sunday to double a state-funded credit line for troubled Japan Airlines to 200 billion yen (2.2 billion dollars), local news agencies reported. The extra funding was agreed at a meeting of cabinet ministers including Transport Minister Seiji Maehara and Vice Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Jiji Press said. JAL, battered by the global recession and swine flu pandemic, is scrambling to slash costs and is seeking its fourth government bailout since 2001 to keep flying in the face of mounting losses.