American Airlines to invest in JAL even in bankruptcy


TOKYO – American Airlines is considering sweetening its $1.1 billion investment proposal for Japan Airlines and would be willing to invest in the carrier even if it goes into bankruptcy, an American Airlines executive said.

American Airlines said last month that it, other members of the Oneworld airline alliance and private equity fund TPG are willing to invest $1.1 billion in Japan Airlines to prevent it defecting to Delta Air Lines and the rival Skyteam group.

“We want to be flexible in terms of our ability to enhance our proposal and we have been continually in conversation with Japan Airlines about that,” Will Ris, in charge of government affairs at American Airlines told Reuters.

“We are looking at every possibility to make our proposal more attractive.”

American and Delta are courting JAL even as it flirts with bankruptcy.

The state-backed Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp of Japan has proposed a bankruptcy procedure as the most transparent way to restructure JAL, and is now in the process of convincing creditors, sources have told Reuters.

Ris said American Airlines was ready to invest if it applies for bankruptcy protection or is restructured out of court.

“We are OK either way and what we want to do is position ourselves so that we can act very quickly depending on which scenario takes place and make our capital investment available at that time.”

Shares of JAL fell nearly 7 percent on Wednesday after a newspaper said the carrier’s main creditor and the finance ministry support bankruptcy as a way to restructure the heavily indebted airline.