SEOUL • Japan Airlines (JAL) may expand a joint venture with Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to cover US flights and other Asian routes in the future, said the Japanese carrier's president.
The pair signed a memorandum of understanding for a joint venture on Malaysia-Japan flights last Monday, but JAL president Yuji Akasaka said that was only part of a deepening partnership between the two firms, both members of the oneworld alliance.
The Malaysian government is considering whether to shut, sell or refinance its loss-making national carrier, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in March.
JAL, which undertook a successful turnaround after entering bankruptcy in 2010, could provide advice to MAS based on its own experience, Mr Akasaka told reporters on the sidelines of an airline industry conference in Seoul yesterday.
"We believe what Malaysia Airlines is going through right now is similar to what Japan Airlines went through and we recovered from that situation," he said through a translator.
He said that once the Malaysia-Japan joint venture has been approved by the authorities, there would be opportunities to extend the partnership, to cover US flights and other Asian routes.
MAS lacks direct flights to the United States, but JAL operates a large number of US routes.
Mr Akasaka said it was too early to say whether JAL would consider an equity investment in MAS, but future discussions were possible.