International Airlines Group (IAG) and Japan Airlines (JAL) have signed plans for a new joint business between British Airways and JAL on flights between Europe and Japan.
Both carriers are already part of the oneworld airline alliance.
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, the airlines said in a statement.
JAL has submitted its 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.
IAG is in contact with the European Union.
The revenue-sharing agreement would also strengthen the oneworld alliance and enable it to compete more effectively around the world with other global alliances.
IAG chief executive, Willie Walsh, said: “British Airways has a long history of flying to Japan and linking the world’s third largest economy to the UK and Europe.
“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.
“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.”
JAL is presently recovering from a near financial collapse, having filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2010, after losses of nearly ¥100 billion in a single quarter.
Current president and chairman-elect of JAL, Masaru Onishi, said: “JAL is looking forward to the potential customer benefits we foresee from the synergies with British Airways.
“Just as our customers travelling 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 travelling public between Europe and Japan with greater convenience and options.
“JAL seeks to continue improving customer experiences all-around, including through tighter cooperation with our quality partners as the industry liberalises.”
British Airways had a similar partnership on transatlantic routes with American Airlines.