ANA Cries Foul Over JAL Bailout

TOKYO (Nikkei)–All Nippon Airways Co. has petitioned the Transport Ministry to reconsider the decision to approve rival Japan Airlines Corp. for government-guaranteed financing, which ANA sees as preferential treatment, it was learned Monday.

The government-owned Development Bank of Japan and Japan’s three top banking groups will lend 100 billion yen to JAL this month. Government guarantees will cover part of the DBJ’s portion of the syndicated loan.

ANA President Shinichiro Ito delivered a written protest Friday to the head of the ministry’s aviation bureau. Aviation policy should “ensure a fair and equitable competitive environment,” the document stated.

On June 19, Transport Minister Kazuyoshi Kaneko made the unusual comment that the government would oversee and guide JAL’s restructuring efforts. In another move that can be interpreted as favoritism toward JAL, the ministry earlier this month suspended a rule that airlines must give up underused airport departure and arrival slots for reallocation. On June 15, three days after the ministry announced the rule change, JAL decided to scrap eight loss-ridden international routes. But it still retains the corresponding slots.

(The Nikkei June 30 morning edition)

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