Japan Airlines (JAL) and International Airlines Group (IAG, the owner of British Airways and Iberia) have agreed plans to create a new joint business between JAL and British Airways on flights between Europe and Japan.
The carriers say the joint business would benefit customers by providing better links between Europe and Japan, greater choice of flights, enhanced frequent-flyer benefits and the potential to launch new routes.
Japan Airlines already has a similar agreement in place on transpacific routes with American Airlines, while the International Airlines Group has a similar agreement with American Airlines on transatlantic routes.
On February 8 Japan Airlines submitted an application to the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) seeking antitrust immunity to co-operate on flights between the EU and Japan with British Airways.
Meanwhile, IAG is in contact with the European Union to seek antitrust immunity for the proposed joint business agreement on Japan-Europe routes.
The airlines say the revenue-sharing agreement would also strengthen the oneworld alliance and enable it to compete more effectively around the world with other global alliances.
“JAL is looking forward to the potential customer benefits we foresee from the synergies with British Airways,” said Masaru Onishi, president and chairman-elect of JAL.
“Just as our customers traveling over the Pacific have gained from the joint business between JAL and American Airlines which began last April, we expect the closer relationship with British Airways to also provide the traveling public between Europe and Japan with greater convenience and options,” added Onishi.
“JAL seeks to continue improving customer experiences all-around, including through tighter cooperation with our quality partners as the industry liberalizes,” Onishi said.
“British Airways has a long history of flying to Japan and linking the world’s third largest economy to the UK and Europe,” noted Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG. “We have very close links with JAL and look forward to enhancing that relationship further.
“Despite the difficulties the Japanese aviation market has faced in recent years, we have great confidence in JAL’s business outlook and the overall market’s future prospects,” added Walsh. “The MLIT has a key role in this process and we hope to receive approval from them for the joint business, which would bring great benefits to consumers.”