JAL Emerges From Bankruptcy

 - March 29, 2011, 12:34 PM

Japan Airlines exited bankruptcy today, after the Tokyo District Court found that JAL had repaid more than two thirds of the monetary claims listed in a reorganization plan. 

The airline spent 14 months in bankruptcy, during which it grounded 103 airplanes, including its entire fleet of Boeing 747s, laid off about 15,000 employees, slashed 49 routes and entered into a transpacific alliance with American Airlines due to start April 1. The companies expect the cooperation, which involves sharing of costs and route coordination on 10 transpacific routes, to save each carrier some $150 million a year.

Upon JAL’s entrance into bankruptcy, the Japanese government supported a plan that required creditors to forgive some $8 billion in unpaid debts as well as Y300 billion ($3.29 billion) in direct state aid and a Y600 billion ($6.58 billion) line of credit.

“We humbly express our deepest gratitude to all creditors, customers and related parties who have given us immeasurable support and assistance during this process,” the airline said in a statement released today. “From this new starting point, JAL will unite as one as we work towards rebuilding the business.”

Meanwhile, JAL said it will cut capacity next month in reaction to the earthquake that struck northeastern Japan on March 11. All told, it plans temporarily to cut 74 weekly flights on 11 international routes and downgauge (use smaller capacity) aircraft on routes between Tokyo and Guam and Yokyo and Nagoya.