Tuesday, January 19, 2010

JAL Crisis Sees Decision Today For Japanese Passenger And Air Freight Carrier

Minister’s Promises Ring Hollow Now to Investors
Shipping News Feature

TOKYO – JAPAN – The words of Transport Minister Seiji Maehara to Japanese Airline(JAL) investors last September when he stated the company “would not be broken up” are finally back to haunt him today as a special board meeting is convened preparatory to filing for bankruptcy. Earlier Mr Maehara repeated that “The government wants to continue to support JAL to ensure its continued stable and safe operations” but as company boss Haruka Nishimatsu clears his desk observers note that the restructuring of passenger and air freight operations has, so far, proved too little, too late.

Assuming that the Government continue to support the company through its continuing difficulties in every way they can, the plan is still to reduce staff by a third, over 15,000 people, persuade creditors to waive several billions of dollars in debt and sell off all non airline related subsidiaries.

In our Air Freight Cargo December update we told of how All Nippon Airways (ANA) were proving successful in wresting control of Japans domestic airfreight market with their continually growing share. Much as with BA in the UK the larger air carriers face a battle to compete with the new budget lines who can select the choice cuts in the market.

JAL will survive in some form today but the current demise, and the painful road to any sort of recovery, will be shock to the home market and a blow to corporate and national pride.