Monday, January 18, 2010

Havel on JAL/SkyTeam

Professor Brian Havel, Director of the International Aviation Law Institute, offered his thoughts to the Financial Times on the recent rumors that Japan's beleaguered carrier, JAL, is planning to abandon its codeshare relationship with American Airlines and defect to the SkyTeam alliance.  See Pilita Clark, JAL Woes Set to Reshape Alliances, Fin. Times, Jan. 18, 2010 (available here).  From the story:

“It is a major compromise of American Airlines’ operations, there is no question,” says Professor Brian Havel, director of the International Aviation Law Institute at DePaul University in Chicago. “There is a real risk that the Oneworld network could fall apart.”

Professor Havel adds that one positive aspect of JAL’s financial woes is that it appeared to finally prompt the Japanese government to conclude a so-called “open skies” agreement with the US late last year. Such pacts are aimed at easing restrictions on flights between the countries signing them, but can potentially pave the way for much deeper alliances between each side’s major airlines.

In Japan, Prof Havel said JAL’s rivals at ANA had been lobbying for such liberalisation for many years but nothing had happend until JAL headed for bankruptcy. “Now the Japanese government has reoriented its entire policy by signing Open Skies,” he said.

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