JAL in the Crossfire between Delta and American

Delta Air Lines and its alliance partners offered $1 billion in aid to Japan Airlines on Wednesday, a proposal that American Airlines quickly said it would top as the world’s biggest airlines escalated a war for influence over the ailing Japanese carrier.

Delta Airlines’ president, Edward Bastian, said Delta and other airlines in the SkyTeam alliance were ready to offer JAL generous aid.

Though saddled with debt, Japan Airlines is attractive to both American and Delta because of its strong place in the tricky Japanese market and in the rest of Asia. United States airlines have also been looking to shore up their global alliances, both as a growth strategy and as a defensive step after mergers in the industry.

Delta and American, however, are also engaged in a delicate balancing act. Too aggressive an overture toward JAL, they fear, could give the Japanese government reason to try to rescue its once-proud flagship carrier without foreign assistance.

At a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, the president of Delta, Edward Bastian, said the carrier and other members of the SkyTeam alliance were ready to offer JAL an aid package worth $1 billion if it would defect from a rival alliance, American Airlines’ Oneworld.

Photo by mikecogh

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