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ANA demands equal assist alongside JAL

Date Posted: 2009-11-19

All Nippon Airways has made its case to the government that it should receive equal financial support to the bailout being considered for its competitor, Japan Airlines Corp.

The ANA President, Shinichiro Ito, says “we’ll ask the government to consider not only supporting and rescuing JAL as an individual company, but to focus strongly on revival of Japanese skies.” The ANA leader says “we’re asking that a fair and equitable competitive environment be maintained.”

Ito’s comments came as the government prepares various rescue measures to bail out financially ailing JAL, its rival, using government-backed corporate turnaround agencies and public funds. Ito’s encouraging Japan to lower its landing fees and aviation fuel charges, which he says are much higher than those of other countries. He says the cuts must be taken as a permanent step to boost viability of the Japanese airline industry. While ANA has done better financially than JAL, Ito says his airline is still feeling the pinch of travel decline caused by economic difficulties around the world, and the spread of the new influenza that has caused many to stop flying.

ANA reported its first group operating loss in 30 years last month, citing financial difficulties during the April – September timeframe. It projects losses for the complete fiscal year, which ends in March 2010. “This isn’t a problem for a single company,” ANA’s Ito says. “It’s necessary to consider this a challenge for the entire aviation industry.”

‘‘We have no intention of seeking public funds,’’ Ito said. ‘‘We have a strong desire to move forward on our own feet.’’ He says ANA will strengthen ties with United and Continental Airlines, members of the global Star Alliance Group, in months ahead. He says it will work to avoid difficulties that have JAL in a financial dilemma that has Delta and American Airlines both trying to lure Japan’s flagship airline into new relationships with the American air carriers.

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