Japan Airlines is teetering on the brink of collapse as the government refused calls to save it from a $15 billion debt pile yesterday (September 24).
A Japanese government task force has now been formed which may split the carrier into “good” and “bad” parts. It will report back at the end of November.
The request for the bail out was made by JAL president Haruka Nishimatsu at a meeting with Japan’s new transport minister, Seiji Maehara, as reported yesterday.
JAL is currently being wooed by a number of airlines in a bid to help it stay afloat, including Delta Airlines and a consortium led by British Airways and including American Airlines and Qantas.
Delta’s aim is to woo the ailing airline away from the Oneworld alliance to join the alliance it leads, Skyteam.
The BA-led consortium is desperate to hold onto JAL as it is the alliance’s only Japanese partner airline.
Shares of JAL have continued to fall, by 7.6 percent to less than one pound on Friday, after a 16 percent drop Thursday.
The plunge in JAL’s stock price has wiped out nearly ¥100 billion, or $1.1 billion, in market value in the past two days, taking its total capitalization to ¥361 billion — nearly half that of a smaller rival, All Nippon Airways.
Transport Minister Seiji Maehara’s emphasised that bankruptcy was not being considered.
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said that public money might be needed to rescue JAL.