JAL in deal with Delta to join SkyTeam alliance: report

Japan Airlines (JAL), Asia's largest airline, has agreed on a tie-up with Delta Air Lines of the US, thereby migrating to the SkyTeam airline alliance and dropping its Oneworld membership, Japanese newspaper reports said.
Under the deal struck in Tokyo on Friday, JAL and Delta would complete the switch to SkyTeam by April 2011, the Yomiuri newspaper said.

Japan Airlines Corp also said it has procured a loan of 145 billion yen ($1.6 billion) from the state-backed Development Bank of Japan, ahead of a final restructuring package from state-backed Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corporation (ETIC).

This is over and above the 55 billion yen of the initial credit line provided in November. This takes JAL's overall restructuring loans from Development Bank of Japan to 200 million yen.

Delta, like American Airlines, has been courting JAL with offers of financial help in a bid to gain access to the stronger Asian markets, and more particularly the Japanese market.

The agreement with Delta seems to be a part of the ETIC initiative for the ailing JAL. An alliance with Delta would give JAL an annual benefit of 17.2 billion yen, according to ETIC.

The two companies will have to get anti-trust immunity grant from the US government by mid-February, the newspaper said.