JAL files for bankruptcy protection

JAL files for bankruptcy protection

JAL has filed for court-led restructuring and bankruptcy protection with the Tokyo District Court. The Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp. of Japan, a quasi-governmental turnaround agency currently working on the wide ranging financial problems at Japan Airlines Corp. revealed the bankruptcy proposal.

The agency said it had decided to support the restructuring of JAL, Asia’s top carrier by revenue. JAL will attempt to revitalize its unprofitable operations with a capital injection from the agency, and by trimming its workforce and routes. As many as 15,700 employees could lose their jobs while they replace ageing planes to survive an industry beset by volatile fuel costs and fickle flyers

The government-backed investment fund will inject Y300 billion into the airline to prop up the ailing carrier’s finances and help it carry out these restructuring measures. Total debt forgiveness from creditors would come to about 730 billion yen. The company needs to free itself from about $16 billion of debt.

JAL has been bailed out by the Japanese government three times in the past 10 years, but must now look to reinvent itself through painful operational cuts and tough decisions about foreign capital and alliances.

All board members have also voted to resign, according to Japanese media. While the turnaround will see the airline continue to fly, investors in the company are likely to lose most of their money.